Agricultural minister calls on businesses to support pig farms hinh anh 1Pig breeding household in Truong Lac ward, O Mond district of Can Tho city (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong has called on food processors to increase their purchase of pigs and keep them in frozen storage in order to help farmers reduce inventories and stop the resulting downward price spiral.

He spoke at an urgent meeting in Hanoi on April 24 with feed and food processing firms seeking measures to rescue the pig-farming industry.

Cuong said the Government had helped the industry for 20 years, during which businesses made profits and now they should take responsibility for the farmers’ plight. “I believe that all businesses can share the difficulties with the farmers,” said Cuong.

As a first move, Cuong said, firms needed to reduce the price of input materials, such as breeding pigs, feed and veterinary medicine.

The price of live pigs has dropped to a record 20,000-23,000 VND (0.87-1.32 USD) per kilogramme in recent days. The minister said if the price drop continued, most husbandry households, even big farms, would be unable to operate, affecting feed business households too.

According to the ministry, a supply exceeding demand is the main reason for the price drop. In the last 20 years, the industry’s productivity increased by 20 times from 1.8 million tonnes in 1996 to 5.4 million tonnes this year. Meanwhile, people’s daily meals have changed and diversified with various foods including beef, chicken, egg and seafood.

There is also a weakness in the industry’s production organisation and marketing. Some 45 percent of the industry are pig farms, while the remainder are small farming households.

“Countries in the region, such as Singapore, the Philippines and China, import high volumes of pork but Vietnam has not yet entered these markets,” said Le Ba Lich, Chairman of the Vietnam Feed Association.

At the meeting, representatives of feed companies pledged to support the farmers in overcoming their difficulties. They will take some actions, including debt rescheduling and increase in frozen storage, and expand the pork market.

Vu Anh Tuan, Deputy General Director of C.P Group, said his group would immediately reduce input prices of feed, veterinary medicine and breeding animals. They had already rented frozen storage to keep pork.

To share difficulties with farmers, he said the company had already cut the prices of feed and breeding animals. The company also planned to build a big slaughtering house this year.

Representatives of businesses proposed that the ministry temporarily stop importing pork and its products in order to stabilise the domestic market. As for the long term, planning is required for the industry, which should be seen as a conditional business area.

Minister Cuong said the ministry would apply advanced technologies for the industry in order to raise capacity and reduce price.

He also requested localities to check and limit the opening of new feed processing units and restructure production to build an effective and sustainable pig industry.-VNA