Color pig is an agricultural specialty of China's national geographic indication in Ningxiang County, Changsha, central China's Hunan Province. The breed is also nicknamed "panda pigs" due to their black-white appearance and their rarity.
Li Shuchu is a farmer of color pig. He has 20-year experience in raising this breed.
"Colored pigs are one of four rare high-end breeds in China. Their meat tastes tender and sweet after eight-month of organic growth. This breed can only be raised in Ningxiang County due to its unique weather and water conditions," said Li.
This rare hog breed was almost extinct around 2000. Li and his colleagues rediscovered them in 2003 in Ningxiang County. They have started to protect this breed and raise them on a large scale since then.
Li ensures an ecologically-friendly environment for the hogs. Colored hogs are mainly raised indoors under a tall and big roof with big ventilator offering cool air. Other animals are kept away to prevent diseases.
"We make sure our colored pigs are raised organically, eating whole foods for eight months. This compared to eight months of raising of normal pigs with additives. So high-end consumers who pay attention to healthy diet and meat taste will stay loyal to our products. Our products are very popular on Hema, and 7 Fresh, even our prices are five to eight times higher than normal hogs," said Li.
Pork is the staple food in China. As Chinese people become more aware of food safety, healthy diet and nutrition, ecological farming is now an increasingly popular idea these days.
After almost 20 years of hard work, Li and his colleagues are now raising 60,000 colored hogs. Food made from his hogs are very popular in local restaurants. Li plans to teach more local farmers how to raise color hogs and grow their production volume by 25 times to 1.5 million hogs, representing 5 percent of China's premium pork market.