Pig breeding on a farm in Dimapur, Nagaland, India (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).
The Telegraph in Calcutta ran a story this week on why pigs—and pig breeding—matters to the marginalized indigenous communities of India’s northeast.
‘For the 600-odd villagers of two districts of Mon lying on either side of the [Nagaland] border, pig breeding has now become a new habit thanks to an integrated community-based intervention of International Livestock Research Institute.
‘“An increased interest on pig keeping, especially for breeding purpose, is seen and the perception that crossbred pigs would not survive in their villages has changed,” Rameswar Deka, scientific officer, International Livestock Research Institute told The Telegraph.
‘The institute, which has its headquarters in Nairobi, has an office in Guwahati to look after livestock sector in the Northeast. . . .
‘Pigs are the most common and preferred livestock species in Mon district of Nagaland. Almost 80 per cent of households rear pigs (mostly one or two).’
ILRI is working with the National Agricultural Innovation Project on this project to improve livelihoods and empower poor rural communities in seven of the most disadvantaged districts of India’s northeast corner (excluding Assam).
‘It is estimated that 25 per cent of the pig population in the country is in the Northeast, 80 per cent of indigenous families keep a few pigs (generally two to three) and that the region consumes 50 per cent of the country’s pork, according to Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
‘Deka said earlier, pig producers had traditional knowledge and skills for management of pigs for fattening but few have the skills to successfully breed pigs. “There was no concerted effort to improve the pig production system in the two [Mon] villages, leaving the whole system traditional and poorly remunerative,” he said.’
For this reason, ILRI took an integrated community-based approach to improve smallholder pig productivity and efficiency.
‘”The success lay in involving community members in the decision-making process and identification of beneficiaries,” Deka said.’
Read the whole article at The Telegraph (Calcutta): Mon villagers warm up to pig-breeding, 2 March 2011.