The new breed is expected to meet the growing demand of pork

Livestock:  To meet the shortage of piglet in the country and self-sufficiency in pork, a new breed of pig will be introduced to replace the existing ones.

Known as the “white breed”, about 155 weaner or growers would be imported from Bangkok, Thailand by the last week of May, National Piggery Development Centre (NDPiC) officials said.

However, it is expected to take about two to three years for the piglet distribution to happen to be able to meet the shortage.

Weighing about 25 to 30kgs each, the new breed will be reared at Yusipang, Thimphu where infrastructure is being developed.

Officials said that to receive the new breed, they have to clear the sheds at Yusipang. By March or April, the sheds will be emptied and disinfected for the new breed. The growing period of the new breed is about a year after which mating will begin and the piglets will be distributed to the Lingmithang and Gelephu farms.

The new breed would produce about 13 to 14 piglets but one to two piglets die despite proper care. However, officials are hopeful that they will be able to sell about 10 piglets of the new breed.

The three piggery farms in the country, in about two to three years, are expected to produce about 9,000 piglets annually.

NDPiC’s programme director Pema Sherab said the demand for piglets has been on the rise every year.

From about 7,000 piglets in 2013, the demand last year shot to 9,000 piglets while the farms were able to provide only about 4,000 to 4,500 piglets.

“We can only fulfill half of the demand,” Pema Sherab said. The southern belt is the priority area from where the centre also gets more demand for piglet.

NDPiC also promotes contract piglet breeder programme among farmers where farmers sell piglets to the farms. The farmers pay Nu 1,500 for each piglet, breed and sell it back to the farms for Nu 3,500.

“Even under this programme, the existing breed will be replaced by the white breed,” Pema Sherab said.

The farmers are expected to produce about 5,000 white breed piglets with this programme.

NDPiC officials said there is acute shortage of piglets currently. To increase piglet production, officials said there has to be proper infrastructure in place for which there is no budget available.

Currently the parent stock piglet at the piggery farms is the seventh generation of the three breeds- sattlepack, large black and duroc imported from the UK in 2003.

Back then about 82 of these breeds were imported.

“Given the small population, inbreeding occurred which resulted in a high mortality rate of piglets,” Pema Sherab said.

To increase meat self-sufficiency, the livestock department targets to produce 1,000MT of pork by 2018. For this, about 12,500 piglets have to be produced annually.

Pema Sherab said the new breed would help meet the demand.

“For self-sufficiency in pork, piglet is required. There are many people interested in piggery farming given the huge market,” he said. “Given the shortage of piglets, the piglet industry was dying out.”

Last year the country imported about 2,100MT of pork.

Kinga Dema