Piggery Enterprise Development
Pig rearing in the north-eastern states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram is mostly a backyard activity, with animals feeding on household waste. Lack of awareness of the right kinds of food breeding strategies and animal health has led to a decline in the quality of pork available in these regions. The quantity is not enough to satiate demand either. Local supply of pork has dropped steadily over the years due to the lack of knowhow on the part of the farmers.
The North East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA), a Tata Trusts associate, has been working to improve local pig production as an alternative livelihood option for small farmers. NEIDA has focused on increasing the supply of pigs, improving breeds and training farmers on care and management so that they can earn more from pig rearing.
Through the Trusts’ Piggery Enterprise Development initiative, NEIDA has helped 4,600 households set up properly managed piggery units. More than 100 health camps have been held during the period and about 80 ‘livestock service providers’ – local youth educated in piggery development and horticultural activities – have been trained in basic animal care. These service providers are the link between the community, the state government and NEIDA.
NEIDA develops low-cost pigsties and provides veterinary care at rural doorsteps. With infrastructural aid from the Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Nagaland, NEIDA also produced and supplied the feed to the project beneficiaries. Community institutions are crucial to the success of the programme. The Trusts incentivise these institutions so they can earn money through retailing, supply of inputs and aggregation of produce.
If pig production becomes a significant domestic activity, the three states will benefit in a number of ways – import savings, increase in local employment, better quality meat for consumption and the further development of a well-paying economic activity.