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Household farms play key role in food security

Update: November, 21/2012 - 10:46

The deputy director of the livestock production department, Nguyen Thanh Son, told Dai Doan Ket (Great Unity) newspaper that household farms may produce safer food

Why do you keep asking for everyone to support your department's draft policy on household livestock production?

At present there are 6.4 million households nationwide engaged in pig rearing; 6.5 million households in chicken rearing; 2 million households with buffaloes and 1.6 million with ducks. That means poultry meat supplied by households to the market accounts for 55-60 per cent of the total market demand while big cattle meat like cows and buffaloes accounts for between 90-92 per cent.

In recent years, whenever an epidemic has struck, we have tried to curb livestock production by individual households. As a result, many households in Viet Nam have given up raising cows and buffaloes, while big cattle meat prices have doubled or even tripled.

This is evidence that livestock production by households still holds a vital role in our economy. More importantly, it provides employment to many people and recently we have encouraged farm development. Yet, amid rapid urban development, there is no more land left for farm establishment. However, big farms have had a big impact on surrounding environments, causing complaints and petitions among neighbourhoods as shown by the cases in Nghe An and Binh Duong provinces.

In recent working sessions with the Ha Nam Provincial People's Committee – some 90 km south of Ha Noi, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop a policy to support household livestock production.

It is projected that in the next 10-15 years, household production will remain an important supply channel to the market.

What special measures will the policy offer farmers?

Households in zoning areas and those satisfying the requirements set by the authorities, particularly those related to bio safety and vaccinations against zoonosis diseases, will be the beneficiaries of the policy.

I have to say this is not a type of package programme, i.e. the money will not be transferred directly from the central government to the localities. The funding will be integrated into the local budget and then allocated to livestock development, particularly for programmes on epidemic prevention and protection, disaster prevention and poor households under the programme of 30A.

The fund allocation will be 50 per cent, to subsidise loan interest for households engaged in bio-safety and sustainable livestock production in a continuous five year period.

Relating to breeds, a minimum of VND 8 million is given to buy zebu (a hybrid) cow; VND 10 million for a buffalo and VND 5 million for a pig. Each household rearing free-grazing cattle will receive VND 1 million in subsidy to spend on repairing their pen hut and VND 200,000 per 306m2/annum to grow grass.

Regarding environment treatment, the government agrees to provide VND 3 million per bio-gas facility.

In addition, millions of households will be supported through training programs on technical skills and epidemic prevention.

Can you elaborate on the supporting policy for the bio-safety scheme? Do you think this policy will provide people with safe food?

I just to want to say that our overall objective is to have a large scale livestock production against a backdrop of bio-safety, good control on zoonosis diseases and the reduction on environmental pollution.

When I talk about bio-safety livestock production, I mean that we must have good breeds and strong veterinary services as well as control of visitors coming in to the farms.

When the farmers have registered the origin of their breed with local authorities, as well as the feed origins and vaccination shots for their animals, the consumers will be safe.

However, to ensure food safety is a long journey from farm to fork and livestock production is only a part of the chain. It is then followed by slaughtering houses, transportation and other areas.

Our draft document aims to steer the livestock production along the VietGap (Good Agricultural Practice in Viet Nam) criteria – a foundation to ensure food and industry safety. — VNS

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