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Smallholders crucial to Vietnamese pork industry

Demand for pork in Vietnam is growing faster than its domestic supply (© ILRI)
Demand for pork in Vietnam is growing faster than its domestic supply

Supporting smallholder pork farmers to increase production and improving pork distribution and marketing chains could stabilise the pork industry in Vietnam, new research has revealed. "Demand for pork in Vietnam is growing faster than its domestic supply," International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) economist Lucy Lapar explains. "What our research found was that the recent steep rise in the pork price is most likely a result of inefficiencies along the value chain rather than a critical shortage in pork."

Although the government is looking to reduce pork prices by increasing imports and supporting large-scale pork production, the research revealed that smallholders are more efficient and are able to produce pork at lower costs than large-scale farms by using household scraps and other locally available feeds, instead of relying on feed imports.

Despite rising pork prices, small farmers have seemed hesitant to raise pork production, due to difficulties in getting piglets and worries about pig diseases and accessing veterinary and credit services. "We need to find ways to address these constraints and bring about substantial improvement to the pig production system," Lapar adds. "Even though efforts by those involved in the pig industry are focusing on increasing large-scale farming of pigs, they must not neglect smallholders who will almost certainly continue to play a significant role in meeting the growing demands for pork in Vietnam."

* The research was funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Date published: October 2011


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