DHEKIAJULI (TEZPUR), Sept 16 - The North East Progressive Pig Farmers’ Association (NEPPFA) organised a day-long ‘Awareness Programme on Commercial Piggery’ at the LOKD College here today with an objective to create awareness, besides giving prospective pig farmers a bird’s eyeview of commercial piggery, which according to many is a high potential sector for the North East because of the massive popularity that pork enjoys in the region.
Delivering a speech on the occasion, Manoj Kumar Basumatary, founding president of NEPPFA, the primary goal of NEPPFA is to increase annual pork production in NE from the 1.16 lakh metric ton in 2018 to 4 lakh metric ton by 2025. As per the 19th Livestock Census conducted in 2012, the North East pig population was 6.5 million, whereas the figure for the entire country stands at 10.3 million.
The pig population of NER is 65 lakh, which is 63% of the total population. Assam with 16.3 lakh has the highest pig population followed by UP with 13.3 lakh, Jharkhand with 9.6 lakh, Bihar and WB with 6.5 lakh each. India produced 4,64,000 MT pork meat in 2014-15. Out of this, 30% was contributed by UP and 25% by NER. With a 63% pig population, we are producing only 25%, which means that the average weight of the animals during culling is much lighter in NER.
“NER consumes around 3 lakh MT of pork meat annually against a production of 1.16 lakh MT. More than 60% of meat consumed in NER comes from outside the region,” Basumatary stated.
For the record, NEPPFA was formed on April 22 last in a bid to organise the piggery sector and create a piggery hub in North East India through promotion of commercial piggery. He also mentioned that NEPPFA’s vision is to establish pork produced in North East India as a global brand. It has a two-pronged mission of making the region a hub of piggery and make quality pork available to the consumers.
NEPPFA would strive to create an eco-system for commercial piggery and position commercial piggery as a sustainable and profitable means of employment generation. Other goals include to position pork as the preferred source of protein among local communities, protection of farmers from devastations caused by epidemics, disease and disasters and become part of the Government policy formulation for the sector.
To achieve these goals, NEFFPA would make superior pig breeds available to the farmers, work with the Government to provide feeds at subsidised rates, educate farmers about best practices and impress upon the Government to make veterinary care and vaccines easily available. Helping farmers get loans easily through liaison with NABARD and other Government agencies, restricting import of pig to NE once the region become self-sustainable in piggery and exploring avenues of export also figure in the Association’s agenda.
For the benefit of consumers, NEPPFA aims to make quality pork produced through ethical farming practices easily available and try and regulate fair prices for the product. Setting up of slaughter facilities, exposure visits of farmers to good farms across India and abroad and collaborations with universities and research institutes are some long-term goals.