Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

TNAU reaps Rs 10 lakh annually by raising pigs on food waste

Despite good profits, TNAU has no plans to expand its piggery farm as it doesn’t want to go for either commercial ventures or look at export avenues and would restrict with academic purposes alone.

COIMBATORE: The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has found an effective way to dispose of food waste generated in bulk by the institution.

“More than 250 kg of food waste generated daily in hostels, where over 1,000 students are staying were given as feed to around 30 pigs reared in our farm. Even their excreta are processed to be used as manure for plantations on the campus. It is an effective and highly economical model based on the Swill feeding system,” said Dr Thirunavukkarasu, Assistant Professor, Department of Agronomy, Veterinary and Animal Sciences Unit, TNAU.

The piggery farm has been maintained at TNAU for more than three decades. “It is an effective model of generating wealth out of waste as the piggery farm helps in generating average annual revenue of Rs 10 lakh. This premium quality of pork is also sold for weekend markets. TNAU adopts scientific feeding techniques, disease control measures and provides high quality feed,” said S Panneerselvam, professor and head of Department of Agronomy, Veterinary and Animal Sciences Unit, TNAU.

Despite good profits, TNAU has no plans to expand its piggery farm as it doesn’t want to go for either commercial ventures or look at export avenues and would restrict with academic purposes alone.

“Piggery exports from Tamil Nadu are only meager. In the international market, piggery farms are highly organised and adopt scientific technologies in production. However, we are still in a primitive stage. Even domestic consumption remains drastically low. Also, we don’t have our own breed and only wild pigs are being cross bred with imported varieties,” said Thirunavukkarasu.

Experts say there is a long way to go to tap the potential of the export market as production technologies should be improved and ensure that pork should be reared without antibiotic and pesticide residues, which is nearly impossible in the near future in the state.

“Also pigs have a monogastric digestive system and they need to be fed with grains, which may increase the cost of production and thereby make us uncompetitive in the international market. Among other livestock, the pig population has been showing a negative growth rate across the nation due to various reasons, including the social stigma attached to consuming pork,” the TNAU professors said.

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