Ludhiana, Nov.19 : More and more farmers in different parts of Punjab are today taking to pig and turkey farming. The shift from the conventional methods to new avenues is driven from the urge to earn a better income.
In an effort to empower small and marginal farmers, Punjab government is encouraging farmer to take up pig farming and turkey breeding in the rural parts of the State.
A look into the prospects of turkey breeding and pig farming, one learns how both of them are potentially more viable than conventional farming.
One Harjit Singh of Lopan Village in Samrala area started his venture four years ago with 11 pigs with an investment of 700 dollars. Today, he takes pride in the fact that his decision has led to raising over 100 pigs of Canadian, Australian and American breeds.
Harjit Singh says: "From 11 pigs for years ago, today my farm houses 107 pigs. Initially, I nourished an English breed, then an Australian pig and then I ventured into importing red pig. Everyday, I get so many calls from traders asking for pigs and pork."
Harjit has received several farming awards for his initiative into promoting pig farming in the State. He has inspired over 20 farmers to take up pig farming for a better income.
Red pig meat today has a big demand and is supplied to different areas of Punjab and outside the State as well. Harjit Singh said: "I sell my pigs for Rs. 2,000 (approx. 40 dollars) higher than the market price. I provide ready-to-eat organic pork pickle to customers."
The Punjab government has launched a diversification drive in the animal husbandry sector. Turkey farming, an initiative to empower small and marginal farmers, has been well-received by poultry farmers.
Turkey breeding is potentially more viable than conventional poultry farming. But the marketing of turkey took a lot of convincing of clients.
Vikram Singh, a Turkey farmer, said: "There was a time when market for turkey was not so good. I had to struggle to convince visiting hoteliers and restaurant owners and telling them the benefits of turkey. There is lot of scope in turkey trade since people are getting more and more aware about this bird. The cholesterol level in turkey is less and it is high in protein in comparison to chicken."
For a farmer a turkey can give an income of six dollars within 20 to 24 weeks. Also, there is lesser risk of these birds catching disease in comparison to poultry farming. Expenditure on medicines and vaccination per bird is also negligible. Since it has lower cholesterol, fat-level and higher protein content than any other white meat, turkey meat is in great demand in the market. By Karan Kapoor