Meghalaya: Livestock farmers facing great difficulty in Khasi Hills

Closure of markets in the last three months or so ever since the advent of Covid-19 has created a number of problems for livestock farmers who breed pigs for a living.

Livestock farmers in the Mawkyrwat area of South West Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya are facing great difficulty in finding ways to sell their piglets as markets have all but disappeared amid the lockdown on account of Covid-19 and the restrictions placed on inter-state movement.

This was informed by the Hills Farmers Union (HFU) in South West Khasi Hills district through its president, Maiantis Lyngkhoi who said that the closure of markets in the last three months or so ever since the advent of Covid-19 has created a number of problems for livestock farmers who breed pigs for a living.

“As per our findings, tens of thousands of piglets are now stuck with the livestock farmers who are now facing great difficulties now as they have to feed the growing piglets thereby incurring more loss. Each livestock farmer presently has no less than 20 unsold piglets with him,” Lyngkhoi said.

In this backdrop, Lyngkhoi has urged the district administration to look into this issue and consider the possibility of opening a temporary market where the livestock farmers can sell off their piglets.

Lyngkhoi also said that there is a need for more poultry markets besides regular markets where the farmers can sell their agricultural produce.

Should the district administration consider this appeal and provide for such temporary markets to be set up, Lyngkhoi said that the farmers should not throw caution to the wind in trying to get rid of their produce but should adhere to the guidelines and advisories issued by the State government so as to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the district.

The lack of markets has left them with excess stock because of which the price of piglets has now drastically fallen. “In earlier times, we would get around Rs 3-4 thousand but now this has gone down to about Rs 2000 per piglet,” one of the livestock farmers said.

He also said that the few buyers who approached him have expressed their eagerness to take up pig rearing as a means of livelihood and as such want to buy pigs. However, the lockdown has also affected their earnings owing to which they cannot pay the normal price for piglets.

As they were intending to sell the piglets, the livestock farmers have stocked up on feed to sustain only the parents but now have to also look into the upkeep of the piglets which are now stuck with them. Quickly running out of the resources to maintain their farms, the livestock farmers are now pleading with the district administration and also the State government to come to their aid by finding ways through which they can sell off their piglets at a decent price.

First Published:June 21, 2020, 10:25 p.m.