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Pork market suffers from African swine fever

Update: February, 21/2020 - 08:48

 

A pork stall at a market in northern Bắc Ninh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s domestic pork supplies could fall by 20 to 35 per cent this year as a consequence of African swine fever, according to the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD).

Researchers from IPSARD on Thursday presented two scenarios at a conference in Hà Nội to assess the impacts of the fever on domestic pork supplies and discuss solutions to ensure sustainable breeding.

Nguyễn Việt Hưng, a representative of the research team, pointed out one scenario in which 10 per cent (about 580,000) of female pigs in a herd were infected, and another scenario in which 20 per cent were infected.

The domestic pork supply was predicted to decrease from 3.9 million tonnes per year to 3.15 million tonnes in the first scenario and 2.55 million tonnes in the second scenario.

According to Hưng, insufficient pork supplies would lead to a surge in prices. The normal costs of live pigs without African swine fever stands at VNĐ46,000 (US$2) per kilogramme.

The epidemic could raise that by 22 per cent (to more than VNĐ56,000 per kilogramme) in the first scenario and by 45.5 per cent (to more than VNĐ66,000) in the second scenario.

“Việt Nam would have to import 7,100 tonnes of pork in the first scenario and 8,900 tonnes in the second scenario to compensate for the domestic shortage,” said Hưng.
The researchers also predicted that domestic pork consumption would decrease by 14.6 per cent in the first scenario and 25 per cent in the second scenario.

Trần Công Thắng, head of IPSARD, said global integration had put pressure on pork producers and the retail market. Pork farms were suffering the biggest losses because their profits largely depend on breeding.

Despite these challenges, an open domestic market and trade agreements such as the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) had provided opportunities to restructure the domestic agricultural sector, Thắng said.

State policies should give priority to assisting localities and enterprises in building disease-free chains and zones; supporting small-scale animal husbandry households to switch their agricultural production to other industries; and developing safe and hygienic poultry and cattle breeding to ensure domestic meat supply, he said.

Businesses also needed to improve their competitiveness, develop a clear strategy for the domestic market and study markets in countries that are members of the EVFTA and CPTPP. Meanwhile, farmers need to join co-operatives and update market information to seek new chances, he said.

According to IPSARD’s report, Việt Nam was one of the biggest pork producers and consumption markets in the world. Pig breeding was a source of income for more than 3.4 million households.

African swine fever appeared in Việt Nam last February and spread to all 63 provinces and cities. Since then, farmers nationwide have been forced to cull more than 5.9 million pigs (accounting for about 9 per cent of the country's total herds). — VNS

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