Livestock: A year from now, piggery farmers in the country will not have to rear boars anymore.

This will become possible because the National Piggery Research Centre (NPiRC) in Gelephu will soon establish an artificial insemination processing centre. The establishment of an artificial insemination centre was found necessary after farmers found the service cost productive, during a two-year trial period.

Artificial insemination is a popular technology globally but its use is limited in the country due to the small number of pig breeders. Artificial insemination was offered to pig farmers in Sarpang since 2014. The practice was found cost effective.

However, prior to the establishment of the artificial insemination centre, a human resource plan is necessary, NPiRC programme director Pema Sherab said. He added that the only artificial insemination technician in the country, who was with NPiRC left for Thimphu necessitating the training of more staff.

“We’ll work on establishing the artificial insemination centre and human resource plan simultaneously,” he said. “With the increasing number of pig farmers in the country establishing the artificial insemination  centre is timely.”

Besides being cost effective, artificial insemination will also minimise the risk of reproductive disease transmissions, increase the rate of farrowing and piglet sizes and enhance the rate of genetic improvements, among others, Pema Sherab said.

In the absence of artificial insemination, farmers rear one boar for every 10 sows (female pigs). Since the artificial insemination  trial began in 2014, at least 33 sows of different breeds were artificially inseminated.

These 33 sows produced 302 piglets within a period of three years.  During the process fresh semen was collected from the boar at the NPiRC farm and taken to female pigs within an hour.

“Artificial insemination  intervention in swine breeding will be a better option for efficient piglet and pork production in the country,” the programme director said.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang