Guwahati, May 9: The working group on animal husbandry set up by the Planning Commission has called for a mission on pig rearing in the Northeast in the 12th Plan.
“In view of the pig production potential in the Northeast and eastern states, a mission on pig production with focus on strengthening large pig-breeding farms and other infrastructure, incentives for producing feed input materials, improved package of practices, vaccines and diagnostics, pork processing plants and linking of pig producers to markets should be initiated,” the report said.
The country has 13.84 million pigs and the Northeast has 26 per cent of the population.
It said in order to meet the demand for improved germplasm and breeding animals, there is a need to establish large pig-breeding farms in the Northeast.
Rameshwar Deka, scientist (livestock and livelihood) International Livestock Research Institute, Guwahati, said it would be ideal to establish medium to large pig-breeding farms in the region for their multiplication under the private sector with support from the government.
“The private sector will have to step into the pig sector in the region and there will have to be support from the government,” he said.
Deka said capacity building of all those who are involved in pig rearing and marketing is the need of the hour.
The group said protection of pigs from classical swine fever in particular is a must. Although this issue has been voiced in a number of forums, both at the regional and national levels, a permanent solution to the vaccine availability is yet to be found.
The group has suggested the setting up of a regional classical swine fever vaccine production centre, preferably at a central place like Guwahati.
“This is an excellent suggestion and it should come up,” Deka said, adding there should be a government-sponsored swine flu eradication programme.
The mortality rate in pigs because of classical swine fever varies from 60-80 per cent.
Nearly 80 per cent of the population in the Northeast are indigenous people and pig-keeping is an integral part of their life.
Swine fever, also known as hog cholera, is a highly contagious viral disease and is said to be the most serious threat to the pig population in the Northeast.
The group noted that in spite of sizeable population of the pigs in the region, the local pigs are not able to meet the pork demand of states of the region.
The region, therefore, imports large number of pigs from other major pig-producing states, including Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal to meet the pork demand.
Besides failing to meet the demand, bulk of the pigs reared by the farmers in the region have low productivity.