Sinlung /
04 March 2014

Economics of Pork in Nagaland: Garbage Scavenging Pigs imported

Seen here are pigs feeding on garbage in Nirvana Slum, Uttar Pradesh, one of the places from where pigs are supplied to Nagaland. A report has revealed how unfair trade practices and lack of hygiene mark the quality of Supply Pork in Nagaland.
Abokali Jimomi

Dimapur, Mar 4Not all consumers in Nagaland are aware of where most of the imported pork they eat comes from.

For the Nagas, pork is mandatory for any important occasion and for laborious physical work in the field.  “We work in groups especially during planting and harvesting, that way we exchange labour in each other’s farms… it would be shameful if I don’t provide pork when it is my turn to host the group; we usually buy Supply Pork,” explained a woman farmer.

An MBA graduate from Kohima said, “We always buy pork from butcher shops… I have not really thought about where it comes from.”

Tracing the origin of Supply Pork entering Nagaland took Naga veterinary doctor, Simon Ao, to villages and pig markets of Uttar Pradesh and markets bordering Dimapur.
His investigations reveal that in Uttar Pradesh, villagers rear pigs in their backyards with animals let loose for scavenging in the open. Owners with large number of pigs (15 to 40) herd their animals in groups in open fields for daily feeding. “Therefore, the production cost is conveniently reduced,” noted the report.

Usually, middlemen maximize such situations, so it is uncertain if villagers in UP are benefitting out of this. The report, for instance, shows that “Invoice of Consignment for Dimapur, Nagaland,” marked as originating from “Rajakiya Pasu Palan Samittee,” Bewar, Mainpuri, UP, has no Piggery Farm and “Kisan Pig Farm,” Bidhuna (Auraya, UP) does not exist.

This raises grave concerns if the government’s regulatory mechanisms are actively functioning to screen domestic food imports in ensuring fair trade practices in India and what roles are they playing to guarantee food safety for the public?

In UP, the feeding areas were found filthy and unhealthy with the villagers relieving themselves in the open and pigs feeding in the open. In photos available with Dr. Simon, pigs are seen scavenging in open fields and on garbage piles: roadsides of Naini, Nirvana Slum, garbage dumps in the city and villages; pigs seen everywhere, even rummaging through waste on the banks of the Yamuna.

Uttar Pradesh is one of the most populous States of India. NGO Safai Karmachari Andolan’s report to the Supreme Court published in a national daily in 2012 stated, “Uttar Pradesh had 3.26 lakh dry toilets which were cleaned by manual scavengers, which is more than 41% of the national aggregate. It also had the highest number of insanitary toilets (80,291) ‘serviced by animals’.”

Nagaland is on the receiving end of these scavenging animals, posing serious public health risks. We can see why their cost of production is low, gaining an undue price advantage at the expense of Naga public, who, if uninformed, and pushed to the margin with low spending capacity, will opt for lower rates of essential food items.
Naga farmers working on organized piggery businesses in Nagaland are challenged with high feed cost.  Local farmers use a combination of Maize, Wheat Barn, Oil Cake, Rice Polish, Dry Fish Powder, (most of which are not processed locally) green leaves and crops such as Colocassia, Casava and Sweet Potato as feed. In villages, the feed is usually maize, with greens collected from the forest.

Obviously then, the current method of raising pigs in Nagaland is much better than of those imported from Uttar Pradesh.
Infrastructure development and technological innovations for livestock rearing and farming still need to scale up in the State; output is low without economies of scale. It is rare to find Naga piggery units with more than 200 pigs.

According to Dr. Ao’s  report, many locals in order to avoid Supply Pork frequent neighbouring markets such as Delai Gate, Bokajan Bazar, Old Golaghat Road, Market Near Mariani, Assam (towards Mokokchung) and Halluadin, Assam, on the way to Tuli. These markets are generating high revenue from Naga customers. How can our immediate neighbours produce more than our local farmers? What is their cost of production and technological know-how?

We do not know, but it is necessary to research about pork in Nagaland focusing on health risks, types of diseases caused by contaminated pork, and market monopoly issues for consumers’ awareness.

source: Morung Express


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