India need to prioritize piggery in livestock farming to meet rising pork demand
Changing patterns in meat-eating throughout the world, particularly in pork platters, are quickly catching up in South Asian countries like India.
However, production has fallen short of meeting India’s expanding demand for pork meat, which accounts for only a small portion of the country’s meat requirement.
According to T.P. Sethumadhavan, former Director of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University (KVASU), pork is one of the most consumed meats around the world, but its production in India is only 1.7% of the total production of 4.1 million tonnes, according to statistics from the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
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In 2021, the consumption of pork meat was 2.95 lakh tonnes. He stated that the north-eastern states consume more meat than other states and that the NE states are now acquiring piglets and pigs from the North Central and southern states.
The shortage of piglets, along with decreasing production and increased demand, complicates the demand-supply balance. He believes that the country’s pig production should be increased to meet local demand, taking into account nutritional, food security, and livelihood concerns.
According to him, there is a need to prioritize pig production in livestock farming. Government initiatives such as the National Livestock Mission, Ministry of Food Processing and Industries cold chain projects, and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development projects can help to boost pig production initiatives.
According to Sethumadhavan, who also serves as a World Bank consultant, pig farming can offer a lot of job possibilities and help millions of households with their livelihood concerns. The emphasis on pig production, encompassing research, extension, genetics, and nutrition, will contribute more than 5% of agricultural GDP over the next five years.
He did, however, say that the sector needs talent development programs to better integrated value chain systems. Entrepreneurs should be provided chances to engage in the industry in order to enhance pork product production, consumption, value addition, and marketing, including ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook items.
A.S.Bijulal, Managing Director of the State-owned Meat Products of India Ltd (MPI), had a similar sentiment, stating that demand for hog meat is more than supply. Because most slaughterhouses are unorganized, it would be impossible to obtain a precise production figure. However, he stated that pork accounts for 25% of MPI’s annual meat production of 700 tonnes.
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Prior to Covid, there was good pork farming, particularly in Kerala’s mountainous regions. However, due to the closure of hotels, catering units, and hostels during the lockdown, the bulk of them was forced to close due to a lack of essential feed, primarily food waste.