Marketing of Hogs in Mizoram: problems and challenges

Pig farming is a popular enterprise among both rural and urban Mizos, and pork is in high demand. Yet the marketing of hogs and pork is plagued by problems because of the poor communications network in this remote state of northeast India.

Mizoram is a small state in the north-east of India. The state’s 700,000 people, the Mizos, have a unique tribal lifestyle and tradition. Mizoram has no train service; a single road connects it with the rest of the country. Its remoteness and poor communication links with the rest of the country have contributed to its relative isolation.

No wonder that trade and marketing are ill-developed. There are no trade relations with neighbouring states, and with the nearby countries of Myanmar and Bangladesh because of political reasons, although exchange of goods is common.

Pig farming is the most popular enterprise among rural and urban Mizos. It is said that if you visit even a minister’s house, you will find a small pigyard in his compound! Mizos are known for their expertise in pig rearing. Farmers rear five to ten animals each for their own consumption or for sale.

Those in the rural areas find it extremely difficult to market hogs and pork. Even transporting a couple of hogs from farm to market is a cumbersome and tedious process for rural farmers. They usually tie up the hog’s hind legs and drive it to the market on foot, since a taxi is too expensive. Many rural farmers avoid going to town at all because of the problem of transportation. Because of this they are unable to derive the benefit of placing the product in the market when demand is high. An urban farmer, on the other hand, can hire a taxi to the market for just Rs. 20-30.

90% of the state’s pig growers are marginal farmers. The different types of markets used by them are described below.

1.Bara Bazar, the main market in the capital, Aizawl, is located in the city centre. Farmers who patronise it bring about 25 animals each, by mini truck. The hogs are sold to pork shops or retail dealers. Less than five percent of hog farmers can afford to raise and transport so many animals; hence no marginal farmer comes to Bara Bazar.

2.Town markets: Every town in Mizoram has a small, conveniently-located market. Marginal farmers bring their live or slaughtered hogs to this market on foot. Here they may get good prices for their pork because demand is high and supply insufficient.

3.Local markets: Villages and towns have small, local, weekly markets. These markets are owned either by individuals or by co-operatives. Local marginal farmers are able to sell their hogs directly without any middleman or permanent shop in the marketplace. The market operates on first come, first right of sale basis. However, the prices here are generally lower than at the markets mentioned earlier, unless hogs are in short supply.

4.Roadside markets: Besides local markets, many farmers slaughter and sell pork on the roadside to passers-by. Once again selling is direct, and no middleman or shopkeeper is involved. Farmers can make good profits this way. Although some customers are finicky about buying pork from the roadside, these markets are common and do brisk business.

5.Hog dealers: These are independent operators who buy hogs from farmers, both rural and urban, and sell pork to consumers, pork shops or other marketing agencies. Some of them run permanent shops in the main markets of Aizawl or other towns. These operators use mini trucks or jeeps to transport hogs from the pigyard to the market.

A hog farmer has to weigh many factors before selecting the market that gives him the best profit. These include – costs, reliable market information, price competition, distance, transport, accurate weights and measures, convenience, as well as the quality and quantity of hogs to be sold.

Hogs are sold mainly as fresh pork. The need for a proper marketing facility is obvious,  especially for the small and marginal farmers. Yet even today there is no organised market, although some efforts in this direction have been made by some hog farmers, district and state pig co-operative societies. The marketing system for hog and pork is primitive and inefficient. The conditions of most pork markets are unsatisfactory and unhygienic.

Considering the fact that hogs require high quality feed, including concentrate, they must be sold at the right time to save feeding cost. Since only fresh pork is marketed and grading is absent, there is no price differential between meat from  different parts of the body. However, the cost of pork varies according to season, month and day. Prices are higher in winter particularly in December, than in summer. Most producers choose to sell their hogs during Christmas week when demand is high and they get good returns. But in general, the market price depends on various factors – weather, supply, the number of consumers, their ability and willingness  to buy, the particular market conditions where the hogs are on sale, and the supply and price of beef, its main competition. Pork is costliest on Saturday because markets are closed on Sunday.

Despite the high consumption of pork and pork products in Mizoram, there is no organised market, bacon industry, proper slaughter house or packing plant in the state. Even breeding stock of pigs come from other states.

To conclude, hygienic market conditions and developing the processing industry would definitely increase the consumption of pork and pork products, and expand its market in Mizoram. A good marketing system for the products of the pig farmers in Mizoram is therefore an urgent need.

Dr. Saket Bhusan

Lecturer, Animal Husbandry

Pachchunga University College,



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