Nguyễn Xuân Dương. — Photo baodansinh.vn
Nguyễn Xuân Dương, acting Director General of the Animal Husbandry Department from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, talks to the Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic & Urban Affairs) newspaper on the need to restructure the country pig rearing industry
How do you evaluate the impacts of the African swine fever that hit Việt Nam in 2019?
I should say that the African swine fever last year was the biggest ever epidemic that has hit Việt Nam. It was reported that more than 1.6 million pigs were destroyed in the epidemic.
The epidemic has left big negative impacts on the development of the Vietnamese agricultural development last year. In my opinion, if the epidemic had not been occurred, the Vietnamese agriculture sector would have achieved a much higher growth rate.
Do you think that small livestock breeding households were the hardest ones during the African swine fever?
I can’t agree more. Though the African swine fever has seriously affected different economic entities, yet the hardest hit were the small scale pig breeding households.
Though by now the peak of the swine epidemic has gone down, yet many small households “have given up their traditional pig raising practice as they don’t have the money to buy the pig-lets.
Don’t you think it is time for Việt Nam to reform their pig raising practice?
No doubt about that. We have to resume the traditional pig raising practice by small households to meet our people’s consumption as well as for pork-export. But with lessons learned from the recent swine fever, we have to re-organise the pig raising practice in a production chain among pig raising households, co-operatives, enterprises and others. By doing so, it will help us to prevent and control epidemics and retrieve the products’ origin. This is the best way to achieve a sustainable pig raising practice for all stakeholders involved in the production chain.
What’s the current proportion of pork in the Vietnamese “food basket”?
At present, pork-proportion in the Vietnamese “meat basket” accounts for 70 per cent of all kinds of meat. Based on this calculation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the need to restructure the livestock production in order to reduce the pressure on pig rearing. It is projected that the Strategy for animal rearing in the period between 2020-30 will soon be approved by the Prime Minister. In the strategy, the number of pig heads nation-wide will be reduced considerably while increasing the raising of other domestic animals and grass gracing animals. This is best way to achieve sustainable development of the Vietnamese livestock breeding.
When will the pig farming be able to recover from the African swine fever?
Pig rearing has played a very important role in the country’s social security. That’s why right from October 2019, the MARD adopted a plan to multiply the pig herds. However, in reality, many localities already started to multiply their pig herds from July, 2019. Yet, in my opinion, by the year 2021, we will be able to have the size of our pig herd as that of the year before the African swine fever hit Việt Nam.
Do you have any recommendations to give to small households wanting to resume their large-scale pig raising as before the epidemic outbreak?
If we want to recover our animal husbandry industry, all households must make sure that they have good sanitation conditions for their pigs and then notify them to the local authorities and veterinary offices in order to receive their support/assistance.
In reality, quite many localities and organisations have been successful in resuming their pig raising. So in my opinion, this is tiding news for the Vietnamese animal husbandry industry in the context that the African swine fever has not yet been wiped out completely. — VNS