Imphal, Oct 12: Fearing an “unknown” disease following the large scale deaths of pigs in some valley districts, the consumption of pork came down drastically, causing the price of the meat to drop steeply affecting the pork business in Manipur, specially in Imphal.
Officials of the Manipur Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department said that samples were collected from the piggeries at Kakching and Imphal East districts to check if there was any outbreak of disease in the state.
The samples are being sent to a laboratory in Guwahati and if any disease is detected, the department will take the necessary measures to control it, the officials said.
Last year, African Swine Fever (ASF) broke out in three districts of Manipur – Kakching, Bishnupur and Noney -- prompting the government to take steps to deal with the disease.
Pork is currently priced between Rs 150 and Rs 200 per kilogram, almost half of the actual price of Rs 350 to Rs 380 at retail outlets.
The Manipur Progressive Pig Farmers' Association reported that a huge number of pigs, valued at around Rs 20 crores, died of an unknown disease at various farms in some valley districts during the past few months.
Taking advantage of the price reduction, some pork lovers enjoyed parties at various localities in the valley districts.
“We have been enjoying feasts with pork as the main dish with our friends at our residence since the last three days. On Wednesday, we paid Rs 180 for a kg of pork and on Thursday we had to cough up Rs 200 per kg,” said Yaiphaba Singh, a resident of Imphal East district.
“The pork we bought was fresh and healthy and we didn’t come across any diseased stuff in the market,” Singh added.
The highly-contagious ASF creates havoc in various northeastern states including Mizoram every year, where during 2021 and 2022, over 33,400 pigs were killed, affecting over 10,000 families besides causing a financial loss of Rs 61 crore.
According to experts, the outbreak of ASF may have been caused by pigs or pork brought from neighbouring Myanmar, Bangladesh and the adjoining states of the northeast.
The northeast region's annual pork business is worth around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore, with Assam being the largest supplier.
Pork is one of the most common and popular meats consumed by both the tribals and non-tribals in the northeastern region. (IANS)