July 28: Thanda salami ham.... Remember the line from Suman Chattopadhyays famous song Amader jonyo (for us)?
The Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has found that the city — which gorges on pork — has to depend on other cities like Shillong, Calcutta, Delhi and Haryana for processed products like salami, ham, sausage and bacon.
This is despite the fact that fresh pork is available in abundance in Guwahati.
The institutes findings have been published in its recent report on the pork sector in Kamrup district.
Processed pork products like ham, sausage, bacon and salami that were available in a few stores in prime locations of the city all come from outside the state, especially from Calcutta, Delhi, Haryana and Shillong, the report stated.
The target customers (for processed pork) are mostly from higher middle-class families and the Christian community, it added.
The institute also expressed concern over the health risks associated with consuming contaminated pork.
With pork consumption rising, the health risks from unhygienic practices are growing. Currently, there is no inspection of the process of slaughtering pigs because of inadequate manpower and physical resources and the absence of a modern slaughterhouse.
The institute felt that these deficiencies in public health measures should be addressed through a risk analysis to systematically evaluate the practices of pig producers, pork wholesalers and retailers.
Once considered a taboo in Assamese society, more and more people now consume pork, an eating habit picked up from tribal societies where pig meat is part of the daily diet.
Pork retailers interviewed in the city said the demand for pork would double in the next five years, the report stated.
From the market information gathered during the study, it is estimated that the volume of pork traded per day in the city is about 1,800kg, which is supplied partly by the wholesalers of Lokhra (700kg) and Gorchuk (400kg) within the city and partly from Gobardhan (300kg) and Boko (100kg) outside the city.
In addition, some pork is procured from other parts of the district like Bonda, Sonapur and Goreswar or from individual pork-sellers.
With the demand for pork increasing and the market chain between producer and consumer growing in numbers, it is clear that there is the need for more effective supervision of the slaughter of pigs and the handling of pork, it said.