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Hanoi (VNA) - Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong has called for a nationwide reduction in the number of pigs and animal feed factories after their overgrowth in the last few years.

Cheap live weight prices and relatively high prices of feed have caused pig farmers to suffer losses worth 1 million VND (43 USD) per pig, local media reported.

According to the ministry, the country has over 29 million pigs, including more than 4.2 million sows.

In 2016, big- and medium-sized pig farms increased production by 23 percent compared with 2015.

Total capacity of animal feed factories across the country reached over 31 million tonnes per year, about 6 million tonnes higher than that the country planned to have by 2020.

Last year, Vietnam’s animal feed production was 23.5 million tonnes, making it the biggest animal feed producer in ASEAN and the tenth biggest in the world.

Localities were asked to review their pig farming plans to better match of market demand and their potential.

Localities should not increase their quantity of pigs especially sows, Cuong said, calling them to raise pigs that generate high yield or special ones to suit to certain groups of consumers.

The ministry also asked people’s committees in provinces to instruct pig farmers to apply diversified models such as semi-industrial hog production, conventional or organic farming instead of solely develop industrial hog production.

Processing industry needs to be promoted to diversify meats, increase value added of the products.

To animal feed, minister Cuong asked localities to limit the expansion of factories, particular those in Red River Delta, Southeastern region and Mekong Delta.

Animal feed producers are encouraged to apply biotechnology and other high technologies in production and processing so that they could offer better products that replace imported ones.

The current price now is 35,000 VND (1.54 USD) per kg live weight- which is said the lowest rate in the last ten years - causing most producers to lose money.

Deputy Director of Agriculture Ministry’s Husbandry Department Nguyen Xuan Duong told that abandoned supply and lower purchasing power of markets resulted in decrease of pig prices.

Pig farmers have ignored warnings from the agriculture ministry as soon as the live weight reached 55,000 - 58,000 VND per kilo.

Duong said that there was a paradox that consumers bought meat at quite high prices - about 70,000 - 80,000 VND per kilo while the live weight prices were too low.

“The pig farmers are suffering losses,” he said, adding that Vietnam’s broader agricultural field faces major problems relating to market and prices, not just pig breeding.-VNA