Vietnam’s domestic pork supplies could fall by 20 to 35 percent this year as a consequence of African swine fever, according to the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD).
A pork stall at a market in northern Bac Ninh province
Researchers from IPSARD on February 19 presented two scenarios at a conference in Hanoi to assess the impacts of the fever on domestic pork supplies and discuss solutions to ensure sustainable breeding.
Nguyen Viet Hung, a representative of the research team, pointed out one scenario in which 10 percent (about 580,000) of female pigs in a herd were infected, and another scenario in which 20 percent 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 Hung, insufficient pork supplies would lead to a surge in prices. The normal costs of live pigs without African swine fever stands at 46,000 VND (2 USD) per kilogramme.
The epidemic could raise that by 22 percent (to more than 56,000 VND per kilogramme) in the first scenario and by 45.5 percent (to more than 66,000 VND) in the second scenario.
“Vietnam 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 Hung.
The researchers also predicted that domestic pork consumption would decrease by 14.6 percent in the first scenario and 25 percent in the second scenario.
Tran Cong Thang, 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-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) had provided opportunities to restructure the domestic agricultural sector, Thang 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 cooperatives and update market information to seek new chances, he said.
According to IPSARD’s report, Vietnam 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 Vietnam 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 percent of the country's total herds)./.VNS
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that the domestic pork supply is forecast to increase from February.
Pork imports are needed to ensure stable supply and curb price escalation.