GUWAHATI, June 12 - As the State veterinary department is yet to bring in a proper policy to make up for the loss caused by the African swine fever (ASF), many piggery entrepreneurs of Assam have opted to sell out all the pigs available in their respective farms as a measure to minimise the loss.
According to a source, a pig rearer chooses the option of selling the stock when one or two pigs are detected with a flu-like disease. Because of this the number of reported ASF cases has decreased drastically. But at the same time, it has pushed up the chances of the disease spreading across the State.
�The veterinary department declares a large area as containment zone after detection of an ASF case. This measure may help in containing the disease, but it won�t help the affected farmers get compensation. So, many pig farmers have sold off their entire stocks, because this measure is slightly profitable than reporting a positive case,� a pig rearer of the State said.
He said that there is an urgent need for a random sampling collection drive across the State in the greater interest of the piggery sector. Unless that is done, in the coming days Assam will have to totally depend on imported pork.
�Many villages in upper Assam known for large populations of pig, now do not have a single pig. The situation is very grave and we need a proper plan on detection, prevention and awareness about the ASF,� he added.
Speaking on the issue, Mrinal Borah, general secretary of the North East Progressive Pig Farmer Association said, �There is an urgent need to start a random sample collection drive. Moreover, we also need extensive awareness and sanitization.�
Terming the sale of ASF-affected pigs a challenge to contain the disease, Borah said that to stop such an unethical practice the government should immediately announce a scheme to compensate the pig farmers for both culling and dead pigs with reasonable rates.
According to Dr Jagannath Kalita, a senior official in the veterinary department, more than 16,000 pigs have died of ASF so far in ten districts � Dhemaji, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Majuli, Jorhat, Nagaon and Kamrup (Metro). Till June 11 the department has also declared seven epicentres of the disease in these affected districts.
�We have already finalised the action plan on culling and are waiting to get the share of compensation from the Central government. After completing the culling process which will take around one week, we will start random sample collection. Moreover, we will make a separate arrangement to compensate the pig rearers for the already dead pigs,� Kalita added.
A government document said that during culling a farmer will get Rs 2,200 for a piglet weighing up to 15 kilograms, Rs 5,800 for a pig weighing 15-40 kg, Rs 8,400 for one weighing 40-70 kg, Rs 12,000 for a pig of 70-100-kg weight and Rs 15,000 for a pig weighing more than 100 kilograms.