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Pig farming systems in Nepal: how can research and development enhance benefits to the poor farmers of Nepal

DD Joshi Executive Chairman, National Zoonoses and Food hygiene Research Centre (NZFhRC), Katmandú, Nepal

Nepal is an agrarian country where 82% of the people depend on agricultural activities. In 2004, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) has estimated agricultural contribution to be 39% to the national GDP, whereas livestock sector contributions have been estimated to be 16%. Around 31% of the agricultural GDP is being rendered by the livestock sector only, of which 53% is derived from the hills, 38% from the terai, and 9% from the mountains (CBS 2001–02). Importation of exotic breeds of pigs (Yorkshire, Landrace, hampshire, Duroc, and Pakhribas black) to Nepal began in 1957. The exotic breed population of pigs constitutes 42% of the country’s total pig population. Among the indigenous breeds, the black coloured Chwanche in hills; the rusty brown coloured hurrah in Terai; and the rusty brown to black coloured Bampudke or Sanu Bandel constitute the remaining 58%. About 53% of total pig population is concentrated in the eastern region of Nepal (Kayastha 2006). Pig meat contributes about 7% of the total country’s meat production. Although two farrowings per year with 8–12 piglets per farrowing are reported, it is estimated that there is 15% piglet mortality up to weaning. Very poor, mostly landless, small farmers practice traditional pig farming in a scavenging system in unhygienic conditions. It is recommended to provide skills training on better husbandry practices to the pig farmers in order to produce better quality meat at low cost in hygienic conditions.

Pig population in Nepal
Although pigs are widely distributed in all the eco-regions of the country, the population is the highest (53%) in the mid-hills and the lowest in the high-hills (Table 1). This suggests that people of the mid-hill region prefer to eat pork more than the people of other regions. 48

685 15.60 13.389 % of pork production 49.230 157.389 % of meat production 8. Nowadays. Table 2.075 100.12 100 Pork production (t) 7. two farrowings per sow per year can be obtained with the harvest of 8–12 piglets in a single farrowing with 15% piglet mortality during weaning period.90 36.96 16. these ethnic groups are concentrated in the Eastern Development Region. crop cycle of pig farming is shorter. Moreover. 49 .18 12.934 607 15.556 3.853 935.94 100.68 Terai 339.Table 1. Meat production (t) 1. however. People of certain ethnic groups such as Rai. Region Eastern Central Western Mid-western Far-western Total Pig Population 495. It has been estimated at 9. Meghalaya.00 In addition.10 22. pig meat is becoming popular and the production volume in 2004 was estimated at 15.893 11. which accounts for 53% of the total population of the country. Pig farming system in Nepal Pig farming has been accepted socially and culturally by certain ethnic groups only.584 36.873 piglets exported in a year only from the eastern region of the country (DLS 2001). In comparison to other livestock. the pig population is highly concentrated in the eastern development region of Nepal. Nowadays.879 1. but it is coming up in the form of commercial farms.83 11. Limbu etc. its trend is changing gradually due to urbanization. pig farming is based on agricultural by-products and kitchen wastes.413 1. The farm size is usually smaller.449 5.32 Total 935. Depending upon the type of feed supplement. Generally. Darjeeling. prefer to keep more pigs.49 5. piglets are being exported to Sikkim.172 47. Particularly in rural area. for festivals and ceremonial purposes. Bhutan etc. The lowest (5%) proportion of the pig population is found in Far-western Development Region (Table 2).371 108.57 3.94 100 Source: DLS (2002). especially black ones. Pig population by eco-zone Eco-zone Population % of population high hill 102.255 8.21 12.075 % of Pig Population 52. so the pig population is the highest in this region where almost half of the total pork production in the country takes place.00 Source: DLS (2002).0 Mid hill 492.389 tonnes (t). the feed conversion ratio is 1:3 to 1:4.16 54.598 52.449 126. Pig population by development region Dev.

) 6–8 5–8 6–8 10 10 8 10 10 Source: Annual Report. also known as Sanu Bandel. hurrah and Bampudke. Crossbreeding and cross-crossing among these breeds is being practiced for commercial pork production. they have lower body weights as compared to the improved breeds. which produce legumes as part of the pasture program. Landrace. 50 . and Duroc. Chwanche are usually found in the hills and are black in colour. however. The indigenous pig breeds are good in terms of disease resistance and reproductive characters such as litter size and farrowing intervals. Pig breeding system Pure breeding or cross breeding system is being followed only in case of exotic breeds such as. hurrah pigs are distributed in Terai region and are rust brown in colour. They are rusty brown to black in colour and an adult weighs between 20 to 25 kg (Table 3). Bampudke. Yorkshire. which is known to be the smallest of all hogs in the world. is a wild species. The advantage of complementary forage feeding is that it can counteract certain deficiency symptoms that arise due to improper balance of certain minerals and vitamins. pure breeding of these breeds to maintain the parent stock is being encouraged. Production performances of indigenous and commercial breeds Breeds Chwanche hurrah Bampudke Pakhribas black Landrace hampshire Yorkshire Duroc Adult weight (kg) 35 46 25 100–150 330–400 250–300 300–450 300–380 Litter size at birth (No. Feeding system Pig producers will have to continue using a combined program of scavenging with little supplementation of wheat and rice bran particularly during finishing period. ABD (1997). some good quality fodders can also be provided especially on farms. however. In addition. Table 3. hampshire. Amongst these breeds.Local pig breeds of Nepal The identified indigenous breeds (Sus domesticus) are Chwanche.

There are only a few cold stores in the country because consumers prefer fresh pork to frozen. 51 . or to Bhutan and India or they sell to the butchers who slaughter the pigs and sell the meat at retail meat shops. there is a regular live animal and pork haat bazaar system developed in different municipalities and a few highway roadside bazaars to which farmers bring their live animals for sale to local traders. The traders then sell the pigs to the major traders and either they export to adjoining districts. including Kathmandu of Nepal. however. There is no fixed system for marketing. Farmer Local and minor traders Rural consumers Export Major traders and transporters Imports Butcher Meat shop Cold store Processor Urban consumer Figure 1. marketing channels of live pig and pork is shown in Figure 1. Marketing channels of live pig and pork in Nepal.Pig and pork marketing systems In Nepal.

National Zoonoses and Food hygiene Research Centre (NZFhRC) and other INGO and NGO. Sunsari. Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC). Udayapur. Possible R&D programs are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Poverty alleviation program by introducing new pig farming systems Income generation program Women development program in pig farming Unprivileged community development program for different ethnic pig farming group Pig group formation @10 farmers per group Piglet distribution @ 20 female and 2 male piglets per group Drenching and vaccination program for pig disease surveillance and control Insurance fund and credit integrated Training and extension programs for pig farmers either in group or in community Formulation and development of policies and standards for poverty alleviation of pig farmers Establishment of pig slaughterhouse and pig meat markets to improve hygienic and sanitary conditions Resource matching between commercial farms. 52 . government farms and pig farmers Training programs to the pig farmers for modern technology transfer Establishment of breeder pig farms (currently involved in Jhapa. Syanja. Tanahun. Parasites of pigs and their zoonotic importance Pigs are final or intermediate hosts of many parasite species. Makwanpur. Morang. Among the different parasite species. Thus it is more common to record higher incidence and pathogenic effects of parasites on the animals reared under the scavenging system than under the intensive or semi-intensive system. The important parasites of pigs are presented in Table 4. can research and development enhance benefits to the poor farmers of Nepal? There are several types of research and development pig programs that could be implemented in Nepal through the Department of Livestock Services (DLS). Dang and Kailali) Establishment and promotion of commercial farms in different districts (currently 30 farms involved) Implementation of growth axis program Maintenance of breeding stock in government farms Supply of breeding stock to the breeder farmers Distribution of piglets to the farmers through the breeder farms. the incidence and effects of which depend upon the management system. the intermediate form cestode parasite Taenia solium is of zoonotic importance and of major concern for public health. Kaski.

the maximum number not being more than eight.34% of the people consumed raw pork (Sharma et al. The unhygienic disposal of the waste makes the problem worse. The main sources of income of the farmers are agriculture crop farming and/ or animal farming.1% of the total meat consumed in the valley (TLDP 2002). It has been observed in general that most of the pig farmers (73%) reared pigs in the scavenging (extensive) system. 80% farmers keep pigs in the open field. As for the consumption of pork. Most of the pigs are kept inside the house at night and are fed on kitchen wastes and excreta. 2006). They are ignorant about health and hygiene. This contamination contributes greatly to the parasitic infestation of both pigs and humans.Table 4.19% of the respondents consumed cooked pork. This is the important factor that is co-related with the high prevalence of parasitic infestations like Taeniasis and bacterial infections in pigs and humans. Most of the families of the pig rearing communities do not have latrines. Some important parasite species of pigs Nematodes Ascaris hyostrongylus Globocephalus Oesophagostomum Trichinella Trichostrongylus Strongyloides Metastrongylus Stephanurus Cestodes Cysticercus Echinococcus Trematodes Fasciola Opistorchis Gastrodiscus Schistosoma Infection of T.e. Only 27% farmers reared pigs under intensive system i. 4. Every household has 2–3 pigs. Traditionally free-range feeding of pig is quite common all over Nepal. solium has received increased significance in recent years because the cystic form of the parasite. They use open field for defaecating. It was found that all the farmers rear a small number of black local breed pigs.34% of them consumed boiled pork while 8. No modern slaughterhouse has been constructed and no meat inspection is practiced so far in Kathmandu valley (Sharma et al. where they reared and fed pigs. In Terai districts. lodged in the brain has been found to be the major cause of neurocysticercosis causing acquired epilepsy in the human beings (Joshi 2006). 68. the ‘cysticerci’. But these sties were also found to be very unsanitary. 27% of the farmers had pigsties. the meat production and distribution in the valley amounted to a total of 1568 t in the year 53 . Sale and price of fresh pork meat products in Kathmandu Valley Although pork accounts for only 2. 2006). which contaminates soil and nearby water streams. The socio-economic condition of pig farmers is very poor.

Lalitpur district 588 and Kathmandu district 957 t to this total (APSD 2004). however the rates for different viscera and some parts of the pig are similar. The prices of white pigs are the cheapest. 54 . Wild boars fetch the highest price in the pig market in Kathmandu valley.08. Their price ranges from Indian Rupee (INR)1 240 to 300 a kilo. they are listed as follows (Rana et al. In October 2008. 1000 800 600 400 200 23 0 Kathmandu Lalitpur Bhaktapur 588 957 Pork production (in tonnes) Figure 2. Black pigs follow these wild boars as regards the price. District-wise pork production in the valley. USD 1 = INR 47. But hurrah crosses are also sold at its rate in various places in the valley. perhaps due to lack of knowledge. Although processed meat has a lot of advantages over fresh meat in terms of hygiene. Their meat sells for INR 130 to 140 a kilo. 2006): Lard Intestine heart Lungs Legs INR 30–60 per kg INR 30–60 per kg INR 30 per kg INR 25 per kg INR 100 per kg 1.2003–04 (Figure 2). people still prefer fresh meat. Indian Rupee (INR). Bhaktapur district did contribute 23. They are sold at the rate of INR 150 to 160 a kilo.

Government of Nepal. Technologies for low-cost production should be developed in order to produce pork economically and government pig farms should be strengthened as resource centres for supplying breeding animals to the breeder farms. which can fetch better price. Nepal. 28–36. Senior Animal Production and health Officer. Nepal. Agri-business Promotion and Statistics Division. A scenario on pig production in Nepal: Present situation challenges in treatment and elimination of Taeniasis/Cysticercosis in Nepal. they do not grow quickly because they are generally reared as scavengers. Nepal. DLS (Department of Livestock Services). gradual improvement in the acceptance of pork by all the communities is being observed showing a positive indication in the development of pig farming. however. Kathmandu. 2001–02. DLS (Department of Livestock Services). Annual Report of Department of Livestock Services (DLS). Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) and staff of NZFhRC for their kind support during the study. 2003–04. 2004. Regional Representative for Asia of International Livestock Research Institute. MoAC. commercial pig production in some of the districts is developing very fast. is a slow grower and has pork of low quality. modern husbandry practices together with knowledge on zoonotic diseases in order to produce good quality pork from healthy pigs. FAO/ Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific for their financial and technical support. 55 . So. pp. the Livestock Officer of the Department of Livestock Services (DLS). NZFhRC. however. Nepal. MoAC. Kathmandu. Kathmandu. Nepal. National Sample Census of Agriculture. CBS (Central Bureau of Statistics). Kathmandu.Conclusion Pig raising is still in the developing stage in Nepal. Statistical information on Nepalese agriculture. They need training on low-cost production technology. hMG/N. 47–54. 2001. Annual Report of Department of Livestock Services (DLS). Kayastha KP. 2006. I would also like to thank pig farmers of Nepal. The indigenous pig in Nepal is a scrub animal and small-sized that produces small number of litters. Acknowledgements I am grateful to Dr William Thorpe. The pig growers need regular supply of piglets of good genetic quality. Marketing mechanisms at the local level need to be established. Statistical information on Nepalese agriculture 2002/03. 2002. Emphasis should be given to a production program in specific selected areas in order to develop a growth axis and farmers should be trained in production technology and market-oriented production systems. and Dr hans Wagner. Government of Nepal. Singha Durbar. strengthened and linked to the marketing channels and the production program integrated with slaughterhouses to utilize slaughterhouse wastes better. References APSD (Agri-business Promotion and Statistics Division). pp.

pp. TLDP (Third Livestock Development Project). NZFhRC. TLDP. Pig meat marketing management and inspection system in Kathmandu Valley. Sharma M. Socio-economical risk factors associated to transmission of Taeniasis/Cysticercosis in Nepal. Kathmandu. Kathmandu. Rana S. 2006. Nepal. harihar Bhawan. Nepal. Marketing of meat and meat products.Joshi BR. Joshi PR and Sharma M. 10–25. 2006. Lalitpur. Kathmandu. 123–131. pigs and parasites: Relational contexts and epidemiological possibilities in Nepal. 56 . pp. pp. Nepal. hMG. Joshi DD. Rana S and Joshi PR. Joshi DD. NZFhRC. People. 2006. 117–122. Nepal. 83–90. NZFhRC. 2002. pp.