A pig can help cultivate your garden



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Newspaper and magazine articles, leaflets, fact sheets, posters, extension visits, village or classroom lessons, flip charts, plays, songs, poems, puppet shows, and radio broadcasts. These are some of the ways you can use DCFRN items.

Content: A pig can save you time and hard work if tethered in your garden plot before final cultivation and planting of your seeds. The advantage of using a swivel in the tether rope is explained.

Information on this subject area was requested by participants in Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, St. Lucia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Special note

Before using the information in this item, please read the notes at the end about possible use of only part of this item and information in a related DCFRN item.

If you own a pig, or if you have a neighbour who might lend you one for a few days, I have an idea for you today that may save you some hard work in your garden. It comes from Anna Yamanea, a horticulturalist in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific.

Of course you know that pigs can cause a lot of damage if they get into your garden and start rooting around, digging up the crops that are growing there.

But Anna says that at certain times, a pig in the garden can be useful. In fact, people in her country sometimes put their pigs to work for them, when they’re getting ready to dig up their gardens to prepare them for planting.

Here’s how they do it. Anna says they just get a good, strong rope which they use to tether a pig on the plot of land where they will be planting their garden. They attach the rope to a tree, or to a strong stake hammered firmly into the ground. Then they let the pig root around for a day or two, until it has dug up all the soil it can reach. Then they tether the pig in a different part of the garden plot and let it dig up that soil, and so on.

The pig will be happy rooting around in the soil for insect grubs and other things to eat, and all the digging it does will loosen the soil and make your work much easier when you start preparing the land for planting your seeds.

That’s a very practical idea from Anna Yamanea in Papua New Guinea.

A swivel in the tether rope

If you’ve ever tethered an animal, you’ll know that as it moves around, the rope always gets twisted and knotted up. In Padaeng, a village in Thailand, DCFRN participant Rupert Nelson knows a farmer who solved this problem. The rope never gets twisted when he tethers his pig. That’s because he made a swivel out of two pieces of strong wood. A short piece of rope that’s tied to the pig is tied to one side of the swivel; and both ends of a longer piece of rope that’s attached to the tree or stakes are tied to the other side of the swivel. The result is that the rope never gets twisted.

A swivel like this can be used whenever you tether an animal of any kind. But if you make one, be sure it’s strong enough so that the animal won’t break it when pulling hard on the rope. The main advantage of a swivel is that it prevents the rope from being twisted so much that it becomes shorter and shorter as the animal moves around.

Serving Agriculture, the Basic Industry, this is _____________.


1. The two associated subjects in this item could be separated and communicated at different times in different ways.

2. In the last two paragraphs of this item, it is suggested that a swivel be incorporated in the tether rope of the pig or of other tethered animals. You should find out how many of the farmers you serve know what a swivel is before you decide to include this item because:

a) the concept of a swivel may be extremely difficult to express in words on a radio broadcast.

b) the description of how to make a swivel would be impossible to communicate effectively by radio. Pease do not attempt to give such complicated information in a radio program.

c) the best way to communicate the concept and method of making a swivel would be for you, the communicator, to make one and to show it directly to your farmers so they could actually handle it and see for themselves how it is made and how it works.

d) if the farmers you serve are used to pictures, you could use diagrams to convey the concept and method of making a swivel.

3. If you intend to talk about a swivel to your farmers, you may wish to show them another simple design that could also be used for tethering livestock. It is fully described in the notes at the end of:

A Flail for Threshing Grain, DCFRN Package 2, Item 7

Information sources

1. DCFRN participant Anna Yamanea, Papua New Guinea

2. A farmer in Padaeng, a village near Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, as observed by George Atkins during a village visit with DCFRN participant Rupert Nelson.