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Add value to pork products

Livestock
 

Grilled sticky glazed Pork chops with baked Potatoes served with a fresh green salad on an earthenware plate on an old wooden rustic table with brown cloth. [iStockphoto]

The pork industry in Kenya and Africa has continued to expand, creating new products and end uses, as well as providing numerous economic opportunities.

It is expected that the future of the pork sector in Africa will be driven by three key factors: population growth, increased income, and urbanisation.

In Kenya according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the average gross commodity price of pig meat to farmers went up to Sh25,995 per 100kg unit in 2021 from Sh25,933 per 100kg unit in 2020.

However, the number of pigs slaughtered declined by 10.4 per cent from 396.7 thousand heads recorded in 2020 to 355.5 thousand heads in 2021.

Lardicious Njau was introduced to pig farming by his mother in Nyahururu. In his view, pork producers have not yet capitalized on the food value addition which presents a virgin market with limited competition. Currently, they have about 90 pigs with some being pregnant.

He says the majority in the pork sub-sector tend to concentrate on selling unprocessed pork within their business premises thus missing out on bigger business opportunities outside their areas.

"When you go to the market, they are still cutting and hanging pork for sale. We need to move away from that into packing, those ones who cut, hang, and sell are forced to work for the day-to-day demand of their kiosk because they cannot take it far but when you chop, preserve and sell, you sell it beyond your shop," he says.

Njau is an abattoir and butchery manager in their business. There they rear their own pigs and when ready for marketing, they are taken to the slaughter section.

Similarly, they provide pork products and chops to restaurants and customers on demand. This, he said helps build a loyal and reliable customer base.

Pork chop

This is a loin cut taken perpendicular to the spine of the pig and is usually a rib. Pork chops are unprocessed and leaner than other cuts. Chops are commonly served as an individual portion and can be accompanied by vegetables and other sides.

How to cut pork chops

Get an eight-rib bone-in pork loin, and make a shallow cut every two ribs to mark your chops. Slice between the bones every two ribs to make four double-cut pork chops. Do not trim the fat. Each chop should be two to two and a half inches thick and contain two bones.

500 grams of pork loin chops costs Sh650.

Pork boneless cut cubes

Pork loin commonly has a thin layer of fat running along its top, called the fat cap. Boneless pork loin is common, but you can also purchase this piece of meat with bone in it.

A kilogramme costs Sh650.

Bacon

Bacon comes from pigs who are cared for on the farm and fed ingredients that are sustainably raised. In processing, the belly is specially prepared to produce wonderful bacon goodness.

Manufacturing bacon is a simple process that usually involves injection followed by a short massaging process and cooking along with smoking and chilling. There are many kinds of bacon including thick-cut bacon, smoked bacon, and pre-cooked bacon among others.

"To produce bacon, bellies are skinned and then injected with a brine solution that contains salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, and other flavourings. Then the bellies are typically tumbled to allow for brine uptake and protein extraction. Then, the real flavor comes in," said Njau.

Following tumbling, the bellies are smoked and cooked in a commercial smokehouse with smoke applied either through natural hardwood smoke or liquid smoke application.

Once the bellies are smoked, they are chilled, pressed, sliced, packaged

Bacon is sold for 200 grammes which is Sh400.

Sausages

Good sausage is all about balance. Balance of salt, savory, meat and fat. Knowing a proper ratio of salt to meat (and fat) is essential, but once you understand it you can adjust to your own perception of saltiness, which varies wildly among people.

The process used to produce sausages is selecting ingredients, grinding meat ingredients, blending the non-meat and meat ingredients, stuffing and filling, smoking then packaging and storage.

The meat and non-meat ingredients are placed in a mixer and blended thoroughly.

This process must obtain uniform distribution of any non-meat ingredients within the product formulation, for example, flavorings, salts, and other ingredients must be consistently mixed throughout the sausage formulation.

After blending, the blended ingredients may be bulk packaged or extruded into a casing, a sausage filler machine is needed for stuffing.

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