Policymakers meet on pig farming
KOHIMA, FEBRUARY 27
A day-long policy dialogue for stakeholders and policymakers on mainstreaming models for pig-based livelihood improvement in Nagaland was held at Hotel Japfii, Kohima, on February 27. The programme was organized by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and North East Development Agency (NEIDA), the nodal agency for the NE initiative of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust. Parliamentary Secretary for Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, Yitachu, who graced the inaugural function as the chief guest, has appreciated the policymakers for bringing out programme for Naga farmers to help their livelihood through animal husbandry activities. He said their coming together with the government to work out a common policy to facilitate farmers, who are in need of technical knowledge and financial support. While asserting that though rearing of pigs is a part of traditional activity, he said the practices do not fit into the present day requirement. Also acknowledging that agriculture is the main economy of the state, Yitachu, pointed out that it is the veterinary and animal husbandry activities that serve as a main banking system sustaining “our economy.”
“We have a huge task and responsibility in front of us to help farmers accessing technical know-how, which would go a long way to sustain the economy,” he said.
Lamenting that the Naga society and state have developed a “subsidy culture,” the Parliamentary Secretary said there are many cases where farmers who are involved the real activities do not come out to seek assistance from the government and those who do not want to work are after the schemes. He opined that the mindset of the people has to be “turned” for their own benefit adding policymakers need to ponder that 100 % subsidy should be given but without cash components. Towards this end, he urged the gathering to ensure that technical education and necessary resources is given out to the genuine farmers.
“If we can do that then we will be contributing a big thing to the farmers and towards sustaining the economy,” he stated. Yitachu also assured his support for the outcome of the policy as he felt that it would benefit the people of the state.
The ILRI, funded by the Tata Trusts and supported by the state Veterinary & Animal Husbandry (V&AH) department, had implemented a pilot project to intensify pig production in view of growing demand of pork on three models. The models included improvement of pig nutrition through public private partnership, pig service delivery in inaccessible locations through village based self employed youth, and control of classical swine fever disease affecting pigs.
It was reported that the three models impacted the target communities significantly, which in turn necessitated for efforts to scale them up in more number of villages in the state. With piggery being a “prime force” in Nagaland’s economy, policymakers feel that the sector requires more attention in the policy framework. The meeting was aimed to mainstream the tested models using public resources so that the benefits may reach the “last mile” of development.
The inaugural programme was chaired by secretary of V&AH and Home, Bendangkokba, during which ILRI programme manager, V Padmakumar, presented an overview of the TATA-ILRI partnership programme.
The policy meet brought leading officials, policymakers, international and non-governmental organizations, private-sector constitutes, donor and development agencies together on a common platform for decision making and effective implementation of innovative policies. Representatives from ILRI, the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Trust, North East Rural Livelihood Programme (DoNER), Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA), SASARD, and ICAR Jharnapani were present.
Dr. Ram Deka of ILRI, Dr. V Rutsa of NEPED, and NEIDA executive director, Dharani Ratno, were some of the resource persons in the technical session while special inputs were given by Project Director of NERLP (DoNER), H Hajong, MBDA deputy CEO, Pankaj Jain and SRTT secretary & chief accountant, Burzis Taraporevala.
After thorough deliberations, the V&AH Department has assured that all the three models would be adopted in its Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) APFADON. The department would also consider increasing the livestock service delivery model in remote locations, setting up of a state level classical swine fever control programme and promotion of local resource based pig nutrition programme by utilizing V&AH resources including manpower and by mobilizing possible resources from the Central Government, donors, research institutes etc. to upscale the programme so as to cover large number of villages and farmers.
A five member committee representing the Veterinary & Animal Husbandry Department, ILRI, the Tata Trusts’ and NEIDA were also formed to consolidate the recommendations as the next step to make policy decision by the state government.