GUWAHATI, May 10 - Although pig farming is a very lucrative livelihood option in Assam, it has been facing a series of challenges including the pig health issue.
The pig health issue has got immense attention in recent times, as the outbreak of African swine fever has killed more than 13,000 pigs in nine districts � Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Majuli, Golaghat and Kamrup Metropolitan � within just four months.
According to the Assam Pig Breeding Policy, 2019, prepared by a panel of experts under the aegis of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department, a large number of infectious and metabolic diseases that are prevalent in Assam have serious implications on pig productivity, export potential along with safety and quality of pig products.
The policy was approved by the State government last year but yet to be implemented by the department. A senior official said that due to the coronavirus outbreak, they could not start the process to implement the policy.
By pointing out that many of these diseases have zoonotic importance, the policy suggested that there is a need to strengthen the prevention and control measures along with diagnosis, treatment and tracking.
Apart from this suggestion, the policy said that in Assam there is a constraint of veterinarians and para-veterinary staff which needs to be addressed immediately. It also pointed out that Assam needs adequate infrastructure for ensuring bio-security, proper quarantine systems and services to prevent the ingress of diseases across the states and national borders. It is noteworthy that the African swine fever originated in China last year and later spread to Assam through Arunachal Pradesh.
The policy further said climate change and global warming may have serious implications on the pig sector due to which changes may take place in case of the epidemiological pattern of vector-borne diseases.