Shillong, Feb 26: Piggery as Livestock farming is slowly but steadily emerging as a great source of livelihood for the younger generation in the state of Meghalaya with many taking to the profession because of the handsome returns which come from its practice.
The livestock sector has a significant potential for round the year employment generation particularly in rural areas.
This provides subsidiary source of livelihood to the people living below the poverty line due to lack of sufficient agricultural land to sustain, particularly in the draught prone, hilly, tribal and other remote areas where crop production on its own may not be capable of engaging them fully.
On the outskirts of the city of Shillong near Mawblei, the piggery farm of Bantei Dor Dkhar looks conspicuous by its size and cleanliness.
On any given day one can witness hectic activity taken up by this young man who has taken to piggery farming in a comprehensive manner.
â€œRight from preparing feeds for the seven pigs that are in my possession, to cleaning them and maintain a total clean atmosphereâ€, Bantei Dor Dkhar said adding, â€œI have taken this profession for the last two yearsâ€.
Looking at his remarkable progress, the animal husbandry and veterinary department has also extended financial benefits to him under their Live stock development scheme.
Starting from a scratch almost two years before Bantei Dor Dkhar today has already seen the dividends coming out of the livestock farming like piggery.
Selling the piglets at the price of rupees three thousand Bantei Dor Dkhar also follows strict scientific practices to rear the pigs as was received through the training which he received at the piggery farm at Kyrdemkulai under the aegis of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department.
â€œI sell these piglets at the price of rupees three thousand but I always strictly follow scientific practices to rear the pigs which haveÂ received through the training at the piggery farm at Kyrdemkulai , Dkhar said.
The challenges faced by the state in securing the food as well as nutritional security to fast growing population need an integrated approach for livestock farming.
This can be easily felt in the villages of Meghalaya. A slow but sure realization is felt among the Educated but unemployed youth where young guys like Bantei Dor DkharÂ have understood that among the various livestock species, piggery is most potential source of meat production and more efficient feed converters after the broiler.
Apart from providing meat, it is also a source of bristles and manure. Pig farming set up by Bantei Dor Dkhar provides employment opportunities to seasonally employed rural farmers and supplementary income to improve their living standards.
District Animal husbandry & Vetinary officer of East Khasi Hills District,Â Dr Mrs W Papang said, â€œThe advantages of the pig farming are that the pig has got highest feed conversion efficiency that isÂ they produce more live weight gain from a given weight of feed than any other class of meat producing animals except broilersâ€.
The pig can provide itslelf through grains, forages, damaged feeds and garbage and convert them into valuable nutritious meat.
They are also prolific with shorter generation interval. A sow can be bred as early as 8-9 months of age and can farrow twice in a year.
They produce 6-12 piglets in each farrowing. Pig farming requires small investment on buildings and equipments.
Pigs are known for their meat yield, which in terms of dressing percentage ranges from 65 - 80 in comparison to other livestock species whose dressing yields may not exceed 65%.
Young guys like Bantei Dor Dkhar are acutely aware by market demand that Pork is most nutritious with high fat and low water content and has got better energy value than that of other meats. It is rich in vitamins like thiamin, Niacin and riboflavin.
Bantei Dor DkharÂ has also found out through constant awareness programmes by field officials fromÂ the AH & Vetinary department and frequent visits to ICAR exhibitions in Umiam that Pig farming provides quick returns since the marketable weight of fatteners can be achieved with in a period of 6-8 months.
â€œYes I have found that through constant awareness programmes by field officials fromÂ the AH & Vety department and frequent visit to ICAR exhibitions in Umiam that Pig farming provides quick returns since the marketable weight of fatteners can be achieved with in a period of 6-8 monthsâ€ Dkhar said.
The pig farming constitutes the livelihood of rural poor belonging to the lowest socio-economic strata and they have no means to undertake scientific pig farming with improved foundation stock, proper housing, feeding and management.
But in recent years through the initiative of, field officials fromÂ theÂ AH & Vety department suitable schemes to popularize the scientific pig breeding cum rearing of meat producing animals with adequate financial provisions have been taken up to modernize the local pig industry and to improve the productivity of small sized rural pig farms.