The Artificial Insemination (AI) in pig is one of the breeding technologies in swine production popular in rest of the world due to its many associated advantages. But so far, the AI technology in Bhutan is limited due to small numbers of pig breeders and lack of AI facility in the country.
However, with the recent decentralisation of piglet production with promotions of Contract Piglet Breeders (CPBs) at potential areas by the National Piggery Research Centre (NPiRC), Gelephu, exploration had been made to find out the farmers acceptance on pig AI at Sarpang starting 2014 using fresh semen without any processing. Since then, many local CPBs came forward for use of AI services in their respective farms. Most of the beneficiaries say AI is cost effective (no need to keep boar), minimise risk of reproductive disease transmission, increase rate of farrowing and litter size and enhance the rate of genetic improvement among others.
Since then, Tashi Phuntsho, the Livestock Production Supervisor at NPiRC who is only the trained swine AI Technician in the country could able to train the boars and conducted AI for 33 sows of different breeds (i.e. exotic and bhungur) producing 302 litters within the period of three years (see graph above). Fresh semen is collected from the boar at NPiRC farm and rush to estrus sow at CPB farm for insemination within one hour of semen collection. Tashi, a passionate AI man uses his personal car to cater AI services to farmers although he is not eligible for mileage.
NPiRC is confident that the artificial insemination intervention in swine breeding would be a better option for efficient piglet and pork production in the country. However, the government needs to invest on establishment of swine AI processing centre, production of chilled semen, train more AI staff, create awareness to CPBs on heat detection and right timing of artificial insemination.
Submitted by Tashi Phuntsho and Tenzin Penjor, NPiRC
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