News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ILRI project offers viable solutions to rising pork prices in Vietnam

Smallholder pig production in northern Viet Nam
Farmer Ma Thi Puong feeds her pigs on her farm near the northern town of Meo Vac, Vietnam: Policies that address supply constraints faced by both small and large pig farmers in Vietnam can help in long-term solutions to the rising prices of pork and live pigs. (Photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

Rising consumer demand for pork, high cost of animal feed and ineffcient value chains have led to skyrocketing prices of pork and live pigs in Vietnam. Within the first half of 2011 alone, the cost of pork and live pigs doubled in the principal urban markets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

As policymakers seek long-term solutions towards boosting domestic supply of pork to meet the sustained consumer demand, research findings by scientists from the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) can help in pointing the way to viable solutions to the current food price crisis.

Findings from a three-year (2007-2010) Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)-funded ILRI-led collaborative project, Improving competitiveness of smallholder pig producers in an adjusting Vietnam market, suggest that both small-scale and large-scale pig producers should be targeted in a strategy for expanding domestic pork supply in Vietnam, considering that prices are likely to remain high in the long run on account of pork being a key ingredient in the Vietnamese diet.

These and other findings are highlighted in an article by Nguyen Do Anh Tuan of Vietnam's Centre for Agricultural Policy and Lucy Lapar of ILRI published in the 22-28 August 2011 issue of the Vietnam Investment Review, Vietnam's leading weekly international business newspaper.

Previous interventions by the Vietnam government have tended to ignore small-scale farmers, focusing instead on developing large-scale farms to address supply constraints such as rising feed prices, losses from diseases and inefficiencies in pork value chain.

However, research findings based on a pig sector model for Vietnam suggest that large-scale pig farms will make a minimal contribution to supply in both the short- and long- term. Indeed, the majority small-scale farms were found to be better able to adapt to volatile prices in feed markets, hence creating efficiencies in these systems.

Therefore, focusing on large-scale farms and ignoring the majority of small-scale farms and their constraints will not result in long-term efficiency gains, the study concluded.

"The focus should be on addressing causes of constraints to productivity growth, such as disease outbreaks, rising feed prices, efficient system for replacement of breeding stocks and improving pork value chain performance," the article's authors suggest.

"Policies that will provide incentives to generate new technological breakthroughs and appropriate institutions to support these would likely to be more effective options," the authors add.

The project collaborators were the Centre for Agricultural Policy - Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development (CAP-IPSARD), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Oxfam Hong Kong and the University of Queensland.

Read the complete article from the Vietnam Investment Review

For more information, please contact Dr Lucy Lapar of ILRI (l.lapar @, visit the project website or read the project publications.

You may also be interested in these past blog posts on Livestock Markets Digest

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