COVID-19: Pig farmers in crisis as hotels remain closed
Kodanchery: Pig farmers are in a crisis as hotels remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though most hotels opened after the complete shutdown, food production has decreased considerably. This resulted in lack of food waste, which was used to feed the pigs in farms.
The crisis worsened as the hotels switched to take away mode following government direction. According to farms owners, there has been 80 percent reduction in food waste collection.
Pigs are slaughtered when they are 7-9 months old. An eight-month-old pig needs 5 kg of feed. Farmers used to get food waste from hotels for free. But now pig feed costs Rs 30 per kg.
There are over 160 pig farms in hilly areas like Kodanchery, Koodaranji, Thiruvambadi and Karassery. Several are rearing a few pigs at their own houses.
Traders said that the demand for pork meat is increasing. The demand has increased by eightfold in the last 5 months. Pig farmers are facing a crisis and the government should intervene immediately to save the sector, said Pig Farmers Association.
200 tonnes of food waste collected daily
Before the pandemic, pig farms in the hilly region used to collect 200 tonnes of food waste from Kozhikode. Moreover, food waste was collected for farms in Wayanad also. Following COVID-19, the farmers started collecting vegetable and fruit waste from markets.
Around 300 pig farms are functioning in various hilly areas of Kozhikode district. Each farm has 10 - 100 pigs. On average, a female pig will give birth to 8-18 piglets. At present, a farmer can rear only 5 pigs at a time without licence. If one of them gives birth, the farmer will be in trouble.
Pig farmers association wanted the government to increase the number of pigs to be reared by a farmer without licence from 5 to 50.