Vietnamese Pig and Poultry Farmers in Crisis

VIET NAM - Constant pig price drops over the last six months have placed a heavy burden on the shoulders of farmers in the Mekong Delta.
calendar icon 25 June 2012
clock icon 4 minute read

“I have been a pig trader for more than five years, but never experienced such a tough time,” said Phan Van Thiet, a pig trader in Cai Lay District, Tien Giang Province.

Live pig prices in Tien Giang, Long An and Dong Thap provinces are fluctuating around VND3.1-3.6 million per quintal (100 kilos). Particularly, high-quality pigs are being bought at VND3.5-3.6 million per quintal, while those of lower-quality are priced at VND3.1-3.2 million, a loss off VND500,000-700,000 a quintal against last month.

Given the current prices, all farming households incur losses and have to abandon their farms for fear of further price drops. Meanwhile, with every quintal of live pig bought, intermediary traders have to cover a loss of VND600,000 to VND1.3 million.

Nguyen Thanh Son, deputy head of the Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told the Daily that price volatility discourages pig farmers from making new investments, sending the livestock farming industry into crisis.

According to the department, there is likely to be a meat undersupply for the domestic market later this year. Therefore, local husbandry authorities must adopt measures right away to overcome this situation.

A representative of Than Cuu Nghia husbandry business in Chau Thanh District, Tien Giang said that if the uncertainties of the livestock farming industry were not eliminated, the chance of supply-demand imbalance in the future would be high.

Low prices, capital shortage and high input costs are the major problems currently facing the livestock farming industry, according to many animal husbandry firms and farming households.

Prices of pork and poultry products joining the price stabilization program of HCMC are lowered by VND1,000-5,000 per kilo starting on Friday, 22 June, given the abundant supply while buying remains weak.

Nguyen Quoc Chien, head of the market price unit at the finance department, said the decrease in rates had been adjusted to reduce losses of enterprises and offer farmers conditions to keep farming. Pork prices after cuts are 3.5-5.6 per cent lower than the market prices while poultry prices are 12-19 per cent lower, said the municipal finance department.

The fact that pork, chicken and duck prices are plunging while animal feed prices remain unchanged results in huge losses, sparking worry about meat shortages in the next few months as farmers abandon their farms.

Therefore, the finance department asked price stabilizers to pay attention to generating supply sources to prevent undersupply and price fever.

On the contrary, eggs have marked up sharply against early May. Pham Thi Huan, director of Ba Huan Co., said chicken eggs are now priced at an average VND25,000 per dozen and duck eggs at VND28,000-32,000 a dozen, rising 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, price-stabilized chicken and duck eggs are sold at significantly lower prices, VND22,500 and VND29,500 per dozen respectively.

Truong Chi Thien, director of Vinh Thanh Dat Co., stated that egg prices picked up because they had already hit rock bottom in early May. Egg prices have constantly increased over the last two weeks and will likely continue in the near future, said Thien.

Egg exports to Hong Kong are recorded by the management agencies, but the volume is modest. “Supply is abundant now,” Mr Huan noted.

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