Black Slavonian Pig

Breeds and animal husbandry - Croatia

The Black Slavonian pig, commonly known as fajferica, emerged from the crossbreeding of the Lasasta Mangulica and Berkshire breeds. It was created starting in the 1860s in the area around Osijek, in eastern Croatia near the border with Serbia. In the first decades of the 20th century, this breed rapidly expanded throughout eastern Slavonia, up until World War II. The breed is a meaty, high-fat pig with a solid structure, black in color and very resilient. Pastured pigs raised with supplemental feeding can reach a weight of 150 kg or more between 10 and 20 months of age.   Meat is characterized by a light rose color and is very tasty. The property that differentiates the Black Slavonian pig meat from other quality breeds is the content of intramuscular fat, which in its quantity and composition provides a unique taste. The presence of intramuscular fat in the meat of the black Slavonian pig ranges from 4 to 8%, depending on the method of feeding and housing, and the fat contains a higher content of favorable fatty acid. The meat also holds moisture well, which makes it suitable for the production of traditional meat products (sausages, ham, bacon, traditional kulen).   It should be emphasized that, although many consider it a primitive breed, the Black Slavonian pig has been bred from a systematic selection process. Raising this breed requires considerable production area, including an appropriate area of fenced pasture and related facilities. The Black Slavonian pig was 'created' in order to fit into the environment of the region, but also in the lifestyles of the local people. The Slavonia and Baranja regions are rich in pastures that, up to twenty years ago, were used for cattle grazing and were a resource for the production of the Black Slavonian pig. While there are programs that support breeding of these pigs, due to economic problems, population estimates are expected to be lower than originally hoped over the next decade.   Fresh meat of the Black Slavonian pig has its place in the market as an exclusive, Croatian product for which there is no place on supermarket shelves, but only on the plates of national restaurants that want to offer their guests a taste of Croatia. Additionally, the meat is used as a primary ingredient for processed and cured meats, particularly kulen and kulenova seka. Furthermore, this breed is threatened because after Croatia’s War of Independence, a policy of importing more productive pig breeds was implemented. Production of high-quality traditional meat products from the Black Slavonian pig, however, could contribute to the development of tourism and gastronomy and enable a significant number of self-employed people.