Rwanda's happy hip-hop pigs help combat poverty

Thu Oct 7, 2010 11:15am EDT
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By Hereward Holland

NYIRANGARAMA, Rwanda (Reuters Life!) - Edmund Ndizeye, self-styled pig DJ, stoops to adjust the amp at a farm in the wrinkled hills of northern Rwanda.

The wires leading from his room feed a varied diet of hip-hop, reggae, R and B, love songs and local music to his pink curly tailed audience who, according to Ndizeye's boss, are thriving on the beats and melodies.

"Human beings like music so I asked myself, why not for animals?" said Gerard Sina, director of Urwibutso, a farm attached to a popular truck-stop. "We have to select music which can satisfy my animals."

As the honeyed lilt of Shania Twain wafts over the pig-pens, Sina says he discovered the technique in Belgium six years ago and claims he's seen dramatic results.

"I have a sample which have been reared with music and another without. Those reared with music double their yields in terms of number of offspring, the quality of the meat and their weight," he tells Reuters.

Feeding the pigs on leftovers from his restaurant and fruit juice processing plant, Sina says his enterprise is fully organic and sustainable -- nothing goes to waste, including pig excrement.

His litter of musical swine also helps combat poverty using a traditional method of wealth distribution.

He gives away around 150 piglets to local families every month. The first-born is returned to Sina, the rest of the litter stays with the foster family, while the mother is passed on to another family.   Continued...

<p>A pig listens to music inside its pen at a farm in Nyirangarama in Northern Rwanda, September 28, 2010. REUTERS/Hereward Holland</p>