SYANGJA, August 6: Swine flu rumors have affected pig farming in Waling of Syangja.
Many shops selling pork have shut down, while trade of pigs and piglets has come to a halt.
People have stopped consuming pork after local administration confirmed that swine flu has claimed life of a 49-year-old man.
“I came back from abroad to do something in the country and invested Rs 1.25 million to operate a pig farm. But swine flu rumor has put my investment at risk,” Bhim Lal Luitel, the owner of Indreni Pig Farm, said.
Hem Narayan Shrestha, who started pig farming two months ago only, says that swine flu rumor has affected his business as it was about to take off. “I have invested Rs 1.5 million in the farm. All 19 piglets in the farm are fine,” he added.
Hum Narayan Shrestha, a livestock officer with Department of Livestock Services, said that no problem has been seen pig. “Condition of pigs in farm is normal. It seems that psychological fear has affected pig farmers,” he added.
Luitel had been saving Rs 534,375 every month before swine flu rumors started doing rounds in Waling and surrounding areas. Indreni Pig Farm employs five workers who are drawing Rs 15,000 per month each.
Indreni Pig Farm has 95 sows, seven hogs and 50 piglets of both Landrace and Duroc breeds. Thirty-five of the sows are pregnant, according to Luitel. A sow breeds three times in 14 months, carries two to 18 piglets at a time, he added.
This calculation shows that a sow helps to generate Rs 135,000 in 14 months.
“I stayed abroad for 10 years and came back home empty-handed. So, I started pig farming to do something on my own. I was treated as an outcast in the society as a Brahmin is not supposed to do pig farming,” he said, adding: “But I was happy as my business was flourishing. This swine flu rumor, however, has left me worried.”
He also said that there is big money in agricultural sector. “We only need to know how to make optimum use of it. We need to change our farming pattern and encourage future generation to involve in agriculture sector,” Luitel added.
Luitel also criticizes farmers who look for government grants by rearing handful of cattle in their farm. “I am not interested at government grants. My focus is on expanding my business so that I can be able to meet demand for pork in the markets of Syangja,” the young farmer said.
He has been honored by different organizations in the district in recognition of his contribution to agriculture sector.