|Trà Vinh Province in the Mekong Delta is seeking ways to revive its animal husbandry sector, which suffered huge losses last year after pork prices plummeted. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên|
TRÀ VINH — Trà Vinh’s livestock sector experienced one of its worst years in 2017 with the prices of pigs and cattle falling sharply.
This year the Cửu Long (Mekong) delta province hopes to revive it by improving the quality of output and reducing costs for farmers.
In the last couple of months farmers have tried not to sell their adult pigs in the hope prices would increase before and during Tết (the Lunar New Year).
However, though Tết is almost upon them, prices have stubbornly remained unchanged at VNĐ27,000-29,000 (US$1.2-1.3) per kilogramme.
At these prices they will suffer losses of VNĐ7,000-9,000 per kilogramme.
Trịnh Văn Nhu of Tam Ngãi Commune in Cầu Kè District owns a pig farm with a capacity of 400 pigs for meat and 120 sows.
His farm is considered one of the most profitable in the region, with an average profit of VNĐ25 million per month.
But last year even he suffered losses, which he estimates at VNĐ1.2 billion.
At the moment he has only 150 pigs and 30 sows, and 70 of the former are ready for sales but he is waiting for prices to recover.
As for the sows, he had bought them at a price of VNĐ10 million per tạ, or 100kg, but now they fetch only VNĐ1.6-1.7 million.
“In my 15 years of raising pigs, I have never faced such a difficult situation,” Nhu said.
“I do not know from where I can get money to resume pig rearing next year, not to mention the loan I still have not repaid.”
Trần Trung Hiền, director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the livestock industry had never before experienced problems like last year.
There was a time when the price of pigs on the hoof fell to VNĐ2 million per tạ while production cost was VNĐ3.6 million, he said.
Many farmers stopped breeding pigs due to heavy losses, he said.
The main reasons for the price fall were oversupply, farmers’ lack of market information and the lack of collaboration between farmers and enterprises, he said.
To revive the sector, the province is reviewing its cattle and poultry breeding activities to ensure a balance between supply and demand.
It is also encouraging farmers to join local co-operatives to ensure their output is sold and learn new farming techniques to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
According to department data, the province has 320,000 pigs, 209,000 cows and buffaloes and around 4.1 million chickens and ducks.
Smallholders account for more than 80 per cent of the province’s pigs and cattle and 75 per cent of poultry.
Most farmers are too small to benefit from the Government’s incentives, according to the department.
The province is working with relevant agencies to enhance implementation of the central and local governments’ animal husbandry development policies.
It is also providing subsidies of VNĐ13.4 billion to farmers to boost productivity by buying high-quality breed stock and getting training in cattle breeding techniques. — VNS