TEZPUR, Feb 28 - That piggery is a lucrative trade can be assessed from the fact that pig rearing-cum-breeding and pork-based business has been able to make significant inroads into the local market in recent times. The above has been made possible by a local entrepreneur of Ghoramari area near Balipara in Sonitpur district.
Manoj Basumatary is a down-to-earth educated youth of the area, who after passing out from Goalpara Sainik School in 1992 graduated from St Stephen�s College, and subsequently cleared the Bank Probationary Officer�s examination to join the SBI as a Probationary Officer in 1998. The talented youth, fired with the zeal to do something worthwhile for the general uplift of his economically backward community in his own simple way, resigned from the post of Chief Manager of SBI at the Rail Bhawan, Delhi branch in 2013 for doing something fruitful back home.
Accordingly, he started an entrepreneurship the same year at his native village Dhekidol at Ghoramari by establishing a modern and automated pig rearing-cum-breeding farm named �Symbiotic Foods Private Limited� covering an area of about two bighas of land.
In an exclusive interview, Manoj revealed about his missionary zeal of working in the field for ensuring sustainable economic growth of the tribal people through piggery. The former banker said that the tribal people are more accustomed to pig-rearing than other farming activities.
�Therefore, delving deep into this venture and being fully aware about the commercial viability in regard to growing demand for piglets and its flesh (pork), I thought that my dream of showing a way towards achieving economic development for my community could ultimately be transformed into a reality. Right from the word go, I began with the confidence of winning the game, and that has already started to show,� he said with enthusiasm, adding that pork meat is the highest consumed meat in the world, and that even in the North East region of India, pork meat is consumed in large quantities. The consumption of pork meat is increasing day by day, he reiterated.
�Unfortunately, though the demand for pork has increased manifold, the pig population is decreasing in the region. Thousands of live pigs are imported through roadways and railways from far-flung States like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha and South India every week. The sector is totally unorganised and contributes roughly around Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore towards the economy of the region.
Pointing out certain constraints in this venture, Manoj Basumatary also stated that the reason for shortage of pork are many, including non-availability of quality piglets, non- availability of swine vaccines in the region, and very few commercial farms in the sector. �Like broilers, piggery is yet to grow as an industry. Pig rearing practices are still very traditional in nature and are mostly being done by the tribal and backward communities. Mostly women are involved in this activity. However, a pig reared in the household plays an important role for the women farmers. It works as an insurance and financial security. Be it marriage in the family, education of the children or medical emergency, it�s the pig that is sold to tide over these exigencies,� he said.
He further informed that looking at this opportunity, he alongwith his co-entrepreneur Khanindra Kalita have been working in their Symbiotic Foods Pvt. Ltd to work on the value chain of piggery. Manoj, who has served in different capacities in the banking sector and worked in both rural and urban areas by supervising three branches very successfully during his banking career, spoke about his experience of visiting many world class pig-farming establishments abroad.
He stated that as per the 19th Livestock Census 2012, the total pig population of Assam was estimated to be around 16 lakh, and somewhere near 35 lakh in the entire North East region. The pig population is maintaining a decreasing trend despite there being a surge in demand, he informed.
�I voluntarily left a secure job to peruse my dream of establishing a world class rural enterprise. My dream is to make Symbiotic Foods a Rs 100 crore turnover rural enterprise within 5 years. At present, we are involved in the breeding of quality piglets. They are breeding Hampshire and crossbreed sows. We are also planning to introduce other high- yielding internationally popular breeds like Large White Yorkshire, Landrace and Duroc. We have also done contract farming with rural women in piggery,� Basumatary said, adding that the rural areas have immense potential for economic development if someone really wants to do something.
�Today my company has been able to mobilise investment from abroad as FDI for this venture. We are in the course of becoming a world class rural enterprise and role model for the rural entrepreneurs. I feel there is much potential in the rural areas to explore, exploit and develop phenomenally. I would therefore like to request the new generation to aspire to become job creators instead of job seekers,� he mentioned. He added that right now he has more than 100 animals in his farm and has been guided very sincerely by Dr Dhireswar Kalita, Professor at the Guwahati-based Veterinary College.
He also informed that since the piglets reared in his farm are improved ones, the demand is obviously high and orders by different parties from all over the Northeastern region, besides Rani near Guwahati have been placed.
�Since this is just the beginning, I hope to meet the demands by next year,� he stated. He added that interested people coming from far-flung areas have also been imparted training on modern pig rearing system with bio-security.
Considering the positive trend of the business, Basumatary has already started another section of his Symbiotic Foods Private Limited.