TEZPUR, April 27 - In a bid to organise the piggery sector in the North-east and to establish pork produced in the region as a global brand, pig farmers have come together under the banner of North East Progressive Pig Farmers� Association (NEPPFA).
The first meeting of the association was held recently in Tezpur, where nearly 100 pig farmers took part. The association has a two-pronged mission � to make the region a hub of piggery and make quality pork available to consumers.
Pork is consumed widely in the region. However, despite an annual requirement of 3 lakh tonnes, only 1.3 lakh tonnes is produced locally, leading to import of pork from other parts of the country.
�The main goal of NEPPFA would be to increase annual pork production in the North-east from 1.3 lakh tonnes in 2018 to 4 lakh tonnes by 2025. At present, annual pork production across India is 4.6 lakh tonnes,� said Manoj Kumar Basumatary, founding president of NEPPFA.
He said that as per the 2012 census, pig population in the Northeast was 6.5 million, whereas the figure for the entire country stands at 10.6 million.
NEPPFA would strive to create an eco-system for commercial piggery and position commercial piggery as a sustainable and profitable means of employment, he said.
It also aims to promote pork as the preferred source of protein among local communities, protect farmers from devastation caused by epidemics, diseases and disasters and become part of Government policy formulation for the sector.
Basumatary said that to achieve these goals, NEFFPA would make good breeds of pigs available to farmers, work with the Government to provide feed at subsidised rates, educate farmers about best practices and impress upon the Government to make veterinary care and vaccines easily available.
Helping farmers in getting loans easily through liaison with NABARD and other Government agencies, restricting import of pig to the North-east once the region becomes self-sustainable in piggery and exploring avenues of export also figure in the association�s agenda.
For the benefit of consumers, NEPPFA aims to make quality pork produced through ethical farming practices easily available and try and regulate fair prices for the product.
Setting up of slaughter facilities, exposure visits of farmers to farms across India and abroad and collaborations with universities and research institutes are some long-term goals.
Since pig farmers face risks associated with diseases and disasters, NEPPFA would conduct trainings on diseases and vaccine, keep farmers connected through mobile apps and ensure insurance cover.
D Maofungra, a former cadre of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Ranjan Daimary) who gave up arms to become a commercial pig farmer, said, �We are very happy that such an association has been formed. Pig farmers across the North-east would benefit from NEPPFA as it would help us organise our activities and work towards developing this important sector.�