Animal Breeding / Breeds / Genetics / ILRI / India / Indigenous Breeds / Pigs / PIL / Policy / Pro-Poor Livestock / Project / South Asia / Southeast Asia / Spotlight / Value Chains / Vietnam

India and Vietnam in South-South collaboration on shared pig breeds, production systems and cultures


Wild Boar by Rajendra Singh Shyam, Gond art of India (via Pinterest).

This article is written by Jules Mateo, ILRI communications specialist for East and Southeast Asia.

A new state breeding policy for Nagaland’s pig sector

Nagaland launches a comprehensive
state pig-breeding policy,
the first of its kind in India,
developed through participatory
and consultative processes.

A new pig breeding policy for the state of Nagaland in northeastern India aimed at conserving indigenous breeds, improving productivity and promoting livelihoods and pig enterprises among all sectors of society, including the rural poor, ethnic minorities and women in the state, has been formally launched.

The launch was officiated by Shri Radha Mohan Singh, union minister for agriculture of the Government of India, at a public meeting in Kohima, the state’s capital, in the presence of the chief minister of the state on 6 Aug 2016.

The new breeding policy is the offshoot of several stakeholder consultation workshops held in 2015–2016, where government officials, scientists and community workers generated recommendations to develop pig breeds/cross-breeds that are adaptable, productive and appropriate for smallholder farmers in Nagaland.

A study of breeding practices and policies in Nagaland, commissioned by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and led by a Vietnamese scientist from the National Institute of Animal Sciences (NIAS), an ILRI partner, in collaboration with Nagaland livestock sector scientists and officials, found haphazard breeding within and between various pig breeds was a problem and that the ill-defined pig populations were caused by lack of systematic and scientifically based breeding programs.

To redress this, the scientists and officials participating in the workshops developed a series of recommendations that are comprehensive in scope but also carefully tailored for specific regions, taking into consideration such important local factors as the available feed resources and farmer preferences, demand levels, climatic conditions and altitudes.

Different policy recommendations were made for different circumstances.

For example, for remote rural farmers raising indigenous breeds or poor-quality cross-bred pigs in open range, tethered or pen systems, with the animals maintained on locally available feeds and raised for household consumption, the breeding policy focuses on conserving meritorious indigenous germplasm in their native pig breeding tracts by establishing nucleus breeding herds.

For rural farmers raising cross-bred pigs in intensive or semi-intensive and low-input–low-output production systems that generate main sources of household income, the breeding policy promotes cross-breeding local female stock with Hampshire or Large Black males of 50% exotic genotypes, with the breed of choice depending on farmer preference and consumer demand.

And for urban and peri-urban producers raising good-quality cross-bred pigs or poor-quality exotic pigs in intensive, high-input–high-output systems for commercial purposes, the breeding policy promotes the keeping of pure Large Black/Hampshire pigs or their crosses.

This Nagaland pig breeding policy was made possible by bringing together relevant research and development organizations, including the Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry (V&AH), the governments of Nagaland and India, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fishery (DAHDF), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-National Research Center on Pig (NRCP), ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetics Resources (NBAGR), Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Nagaland University North East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA) and ILRI. Discussions to develop the new breeding policy ensured that it does not conflict with prevailing policies of the state or central governments.

The participatory, consultative processes employed to develop this comprehensive state pig breeding policy, which is the first of its kind in India, can serve as a model for developing breeding policies in other states where pig-keeping is important.


Vietnamese warty pig, by Trousset Encyclopedia via Shutterstock.

The highland pig breeds, production systems, climates and cultures of northeastern India and East and Southeast Asia share similar pig breeds, production systems, climates and cultures.

The smallholder pig production systems that characterize India’s far northeastern state of Nagaland continue to occur in a band reaching more than one thousand kilometres across southwestern China, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Lao and Vietnam, with cultural ties among these pig-keeping cultures that go back centuries.

This pig policy work in Nagaland is making excellent use of the unique role ILRI can play in mediating South-South agricultural exchanges bridging South, East and Southeast Asia.

—Steve Staal, leader of ILRI’s Policies, Trade and Value Chains program


Hampshire Pig, from Meyers Konversations-Lexikon via Shutterstock.

Native pig production in India and Vietnam:
A cross-regional research cooperation

Study tour for delegation from India’s
northeastern state of Nagaland to
northern Vietnam advances understanding
of community-level pig breeding
and smallholder pig value chains.

In June 2016, ILRI East and Southeast Asia regional staff based in Hanoi held a study tour for a delegation of Nagaland officials and scientists working on native pigs. The goal of the study tour was for the Indian delegation to learn more about pig value chains in Vietnam and for participants from both countries to share experiences in community-level pig breeding and service delivery systems.

The Nagaland, India, team, led by Mesetshulo Kezienuo Mero, V&AH commissioner and secretary, visited small-scale native pig farms, small- and medium-scale exotic pig farms, slaughterhouses and fresh markets in the northern Vietnam provinces of Lao Cai (northwest border) and Hung Yen (Red River Delta).

In Hanoi, the Nagaland team also met with key ILRI Vietnamese partners, including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA), Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH) and National Institute of Animal Sciences (NIAS). They discussed the successes of Vietnam’s pig sub-sector as well as the limitations of Vietnam’s current production methods and food safety problems that remain big challenges to smallholder and large-scale pig producers alike.

It was noteworthy that the India delegation had a particular interest in small- and medium-scale exotic pig farms of Vietnam when they visited Hung Yen, a study site of an ILRI PigRisk project. The Indian officials and scientists see this production system as a way forward for Nagaland’s pig sector.

This knowledge exchange was particularly productive because northeastern India and northern Vietnam are geographically close and share similar highland regions, climates and cultures as well as native pig breeds and  production systems.

The two regions can mutually benefit from partnerships and collaborations, not just on pig breeding policies but also on ways to improve smallholder pig production and increase the incomes of small-scale pig producers. Making use of its years of work on smallholder pig systems in both northeast India and northern Vietnam, ILRI is helping to facilitate this South–South research cooperation, particularly in ensuring that it is inclusive and participatory.


Large White Pig, from Meyers Konversations-Lexikon via Shutterstock.


Read an article about ILRI’s inter-region (Vietnam and India) collaboration on native pig research.

See why pig production is important to agricultural communities in northeast India.

Know more about a pig research partnership between Tata Trusts and ILRI.

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