India’s biggest piggery development project launched in Meghalaya

Shillong, India’s largest piggery development project worth Rs 209 crore was launched on Thursday in Meghalaya to enhance the income of 25,000 households in the northeastern state.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma launching the mega project, said: “India’s largest piggery development project will increase the income of over 25,000 households in Meghalaya. The project is expected to boost Rs 691 crore in additional incomes over the next 8 years for the state. Through this, farmers can avail loans with zero per cent interest.”

He said that the piggery development project was launched under the aegis of Meghalaya Livestock Enterprises Advancement Society funded by the National Cooperative Development Corporation. “The project is an initiative towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and has three main objectives.

These are, reducing the state’s annual import burden by Rs 150 crore, improving the income of over 25,000 households and reaching an annual increment of Rs 70 crore across the state, Sangma said. According to the Chief Minister, the ambitious project would achieve self-sufficiency in pork production over the next three years.

Sangma said that the state government has a vision to take Meghalaya among the 10 top Indian states in terms of per capita income by 2030. “To achieve this goal, the state government had recently launched Rs 14,515 crore ‘Restart Meghalaya Mission’. The mission comprises a series of interventions to support farmers and entrepreneurs by enabling them to build growth-centric basic infrastructure and services.”

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Kailash Choudhury was present at the inaugural ceremony. Even as pig rearing is traditionally practised in tribal-dominated Meghalaya, pork is being imported from Punjab as there is a demand-supply gap of around 1,000 metric tonnes. The northeast’s annual pork business is worth around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore, with Assam being the largest supplier. It’s one of the most common and popular meats consumed by tribals and non-tribals in the northeastern states.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Mizoram mostly imported pigs and pork from neighbouring Myanmar. Meanwhile, African Swine Fever (ASF), an exotic viral disease, has hit the animals in Assam, killing around 16,000 domesticated pigs in 10 Assam districts during April-May this year. Due to ASF, pig mortality has also been reported from 9 districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

After the outbreak of ASF, all eight northeastern states have sounded a high alert and asked people, especially owners of piggeries, to refrain from bringing pigs from other states. Animal resource experts suspect Tibet to be the source of ASF.