After grabbing the nation’s attention by being featured in the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) list of indigenous livestock, the Agonda pig now promises to improve profits in piggery. NT BUZZ finds out about the cross bred pig and the future of pig rearing in Goa
SHERAS FERNANDES | NT BUZZ
A few decades ago pigs were seen in abundance in many Goan households as they aided in the disposal of waste. From being an imperative waste disposal system to being on our food tables, pigs have come a long way. If you didn’t know then, Goa too has its own breed of pigs – the Agonda pig that was identified and featured in the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) list of indigenous livestock. Led by director and principal scientist (Animal Reproduction and Gynaecology), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Old Goa, E B Chakurkar began his study knowing that Goa’s livestock wasn’t featured in the list before 2015.
Like any other livestock, pigs convert inedible feed, forages certain grain by-products damaged feeds and garbage into valuable nutritious snack. Pigs are prolific breeders and can give up to 10 to 12 piglets at one time with minimal inputs. The Agonda pig is a small sized mostly black coloured, and has a short snout and rough bristles and is a local pig found across Goa. “The Agonda pig usually sustains on scavenging with qualities of early maturity and good mothering ability. Though aggressive they are ideal for crossbreeding with exotic breeds to get a better adaptability and disease resistance,” says junior research fellow – All India Coordinated Project On Pigs (AICRP), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Old Goa, Sajan Naik.
The Large White Yorkshire although an exotic breed is well-suited to Goan conditions with good growth rate and feed conversion ability under intensive care. The breed of a pig plays major role in the profitability of pig rearing. “The local indigenous pigs can weigh up to 50 kilograms in 10 to 12 months while the Large White Yorkshire can grow up to 100 kilograms in the same time. The offspring that are produced by the crossing of Agonda female pig with Large White Yorkshire male are well adapted to the local coastal environment and can grow up to 90 kilograms in 12 months time,” says Naik. He adds that Duroc is another breed that has better growth, growing up to 350 kilograms, provides lean meat and is well-adapted to Goan conditions. Despite having a poor mothering ability it can be used for crossbreeding with the indigenous Agonda pig.
In Goa, pigs are usually slaughtered at about 70 kilograms and farmers feed their pigs freely available food materials like kitchen waste, bakery waste or waste from the vegetable market but Chakurkar says that food has to possess nutritional value and has to be disinfected before feeding it to the livestock. “Farmers should focus on giving nutritional food to their livestock instead of merely giving normal food. The food has to be boiled if not cooked so that the pigs do not fall ill owing to consumption of infected or spoilt food,” he says.
Livestock pigs also attract diseases due to bacterial and viral infection and parasitic infestation and hence Chakurkar says that cleanliness and vaccination are a must. He adds: “Besides, the pigs need to be kept in a clean place and have to be vaccinated against swine fever and regular doses of de-worming have to be given to keep the porcine in good health and away from ailments,” he says.
Chakurkar opines that Goa being a tourist destination has many hotels and hence, rearing of pigs besides being a sustainable way of getting rid of hotel waste is also a good earning option, especially for landless farmers who can take to pig-rearing to supplement their income.