Supporting smallholder pig producers
(article in Vietnam Agriculture, No.215 (3584), 28 October 2010)
According to IPSARD, swine disease infection has been increasingly serious and at the same time, food safety becomes important issue. As usual, whenever there are outbreaks of diseases such as the PRRS, bird flu, etc, it is smallholder farmers to get the blame that they are the transmitters of diseases and make the diseases quickly spread out, due to their production practices. The prolonged consequence is Vietnamese pork loses its competitiveness in domestic market. IPSARD predicts that in a not-too-far future, imported meat will occupy the market if no measures are to be implemented to enhance competitiveness of this back-born livestock sector. Surveys in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh city, Phu Tho, Nghe An, Daklak, Dong Nai and Tien Giang show that household-based pig producers supply 80 percent of pork in Vietnam. Large, modern farms only supply 5 percent of pork while frozen and canned pork accounts for merely 2 percent. Pork still dominate meat consumption in Vietnam ( for example, 68% in 2000, 72% in 2005 and 62% in 2009). The survey also reveals consumer preference for lean, fresh pork sold in traditional wet markets. However, 43 percent of surveyed consumers indicate their concern about food safety aspect of pork such as pig disease, chemical contamination, stale pork, etc.
In fact, feed cost accounts for at least 2/3 total cost in pig production in particular and livestock production in general. Smallholder producers can exploit low feed cost advantage to enhance their competitiveness by extending own-produced feed options in combination with improving access to extension services.
Mr. Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, IPSARD representative informed that to support smallholder pig producers, this project proposes concrete solutions and comprehensive policies such as improving delivery of supporting services, including veterinary and extension services; upgrading facilities and access to supporting institutions; upgrading slaughterhouses and markets to improve hygiene conditions and food safety; assessing risks along pig supply chains. The project suggests piloting collective actions and other forms of organization that will reduce transaction costs of input procurement and output marketing; setting up pilot schemes for testing the viability of a quality assurance system that is feasible in smallholder context and is cost-effective in delivering safe pork. The project advocates moving pig farms away residential areas, providing unbiased support with respect to tax and credit to smallholders, focusing research on creating good cross-breeds. To ensure quality, the project suggest supporting medium-size feed producers using domestic feed materials along with quality certification. Certification of pig producers and establishment of disease monitoring system are also indispensable. On marketing side, the government should tighten standards on import meat, impose SPS standards and certify pork retailers to ensure food safety. Support is also needed to upgrade facilities in markets, establishing market information system and testing certification of pig supply chains with contract farming.