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Assam’s Bodo council expects an economic turnaround riding on pig’s back- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is anticipating an economic turnaround for Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) riding on the pig’s back. 

The autonomous BTC, which administers five districts falling under BTR, is sending 50 farmers, who have traditional knowledge of animal husbandry, to Denmark so they can learn everything about pigs. By collaborating with the Scandinavian country, it is also starting some “pig schools”. 

BTC chief Pramod Bodo struck on the idea of “pig as panacea” to bring about sustainable change in the economy through this staple food of the Bodos and other tribals in the Northeast. 

He said it in a matter of days that the BTC would sign a memorandum of understanding with Denmark. It will provide technical know-how to the Bodo farmers on pig farming. A team from BTC visited Denmark and similarly, a Danish delegation visited BTR recently. 

“Denmark supplies its pigs to countries all over the world and it has no competitor in pig farming,” the BTC chief said, adding the 50 farmers would become master trainers for 60,000 pig farmers in BTR. 

“By tying up with Denmark, we are going to start some pig schools in BTR. The Danish course is of three years but our schools will start with a one-year course,” Bodo said. 

He said the pig schools in BTR would be on the Danish model although indigenous ideas would be incorporated. 

“We will lay thrust on quality production of pigs,” he said, adding, “Under our Pig Mission, we are aiming at a per day meat production of 1 lakh kg.” 

Stating that the farmers have been identified, Bodo said training on biosecurity was underway while biosecurity kits were also being distributed. He said the BTC allocated Rs 17 crore in the last financial year and Rs 4 crore this fiscal under Pig Mission. Money is given for various activities, including training. 

The BTC authorities have designed hygienic meat stalls with glass binding, refrigerators and solar power. These stalls will be operational from July. 

After the return of peace, thanks to the BTR peace accord signed with some rebel groups, the BTC took up several initiatives for livelihood generation and infrastructure development. Animal husbandry, education, agriculture and horticulture are the other thrust areas. 

Under Bodofa Livelihood Mission, the BTC has earmarked Rs 61 crore whereby 80,000 families will be supported for small-scale plantations. 

The goats of the Northeast are high in demand and so under Goat Mission, a semen production centre will be set up for artificial insemination to get high-breed goats. 

“We have started the production of high-value crops such as dragon fruit, strawberry and cocoa. The BTR’s annual agricultural business transactions are about Rs 2,000 crore. When I took over in 2020, our maize production was 14,000-16,000 metric tonnes. We worked so well that we will get 27,000 MTs of maize this year,” Bodo said. 

The BTC has also launched a cooperative movement for former insurgents. They will work in sectors like poultry farming, dairy and plantations. 

Bodo said the infrastructure of schools remained deplorable for decades and the BTC renovated 463 of them and built 100 others. Another 500 schools will be renovated and 100 others will be built in the next financial year, he added. 

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