DONG NAI — Pig farmers in southern Dong Nai Province, which has the country's largest swine population, must increase co-operation among themselves as they struggle with losses over the last several months, experts say.
At a meeting held in the south-eastern province late last month to discuss the problems and find solutions, several participants stressed that mutual co-operation would help pig farmers reduce production costs, prevent diseases and fight rumours that are negatively impacting the livestock industry.
Pig farmers in Dong Nai have been suffering losses over the past four months because pork prices have fallen from VND50,000-52,000 a kilo in March to VND38,000-40,000 at present.
The main reasons for this are the spreading of rumours that the farmers were using banned chemicals in their animal feed and there has been an outbreak of the blue-ear disease that affects pigs.
"The current prices are about VND5,000-7,000 per kilo lower than the production cost, and farmers are hurting badly," the meeting heard.
Nguyen Thi Sao, who owns a pig farm in Thong Nhat District's Gia Tan Commune, said she sold about 50 pigs every month and the selling price was VND36,000-38,000 a kilo over the past four months.
"Although I breed piglets and make animal feed by myself, I am still suffering losses of VND20 million a month," she said.
"If pork prices do not rise in the coming weeks, I will have to cutback production to reduce losses," she added.
La Van Kinh, deputy head of the Institute of Agriculture Science for the south, said relevant departments and agencies in the province should improve disease prevention knowledge among farmers and help them increase productivity of sows to reduce production cost.
Over the past years, the blue-ear disease has broken out mostly among pigs raised by households who did not provide proper care and vaccinations for the animals, he said.
This year, the disease has appeared mostly in sites that have experienced outbreaks earlier, he said.
Several pig farmers said that animal feed accounted for 70 per cent of production costs and most materials needed to make it were imported. Hence it was difficult to reduce the price of animal feed.
They called on the Government to set up large areas to produce raw materials used in making animal feed so that production costs of raising pigs could be reduced.
Nguyen Dien Tuong, director of the Dong Nai Agricultural Livestock Products JSC, which has about 20,000 pigs, said he hoped the Government would reduce the import tax on raw materials used to make animal feed and put up technical barriers for imported meat.
Pham Minh Dao, deputy director of the Province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said pig farmers should cooperate with each other in order to ensure stable development of the husbandry sector.
Big farms should cooperate in producing healthy strains and good quality animal feed, establishing and maintaining hygienic slaughterhouses, and setting up raw material producing areas in the province to reduce production costs, he said.
Dong Nai is estimated to have 1.2 million pigs in stock at present. — VNS