Planning potential policy advocacy activities with the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development, Nghe An province

Nghe An is selected as a province for policy advocacy activities as agreed by the advocacy team in the meeting dated 11 September 2009. In order to obtain background knowledge about pig production in the province as well as its present policy context and to examine the possibility of cooperation in refining pig sector policies and plan, a trip to meet officials of Nghe An’s Department of Agricuture and Rural Development (DARD) is necessary. We first have a meeting with Mr. Vi Luu Binh, deputy director of DARD in Hanoi on 16, September 2009 when he was on a business trip. Two days after, on 18 Sep, we met with offcials from DARD at the office of DARD in Vinh city. Four advocacy team members from CAP (Ms. Nguyen Que Nga), Agroinfo (Ms. An Lan Anh), Oxfam Hong Kong (Mr. Pham Quang Trung) and ILRI Vietnam (Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Toan) attended the meetings. From DARD side, there were repsentatives from livestock division (Mr. Hung), finance and planing division, extension center (Mr. Tuan), veterinary center (Mr. Do) and breeding center. The meetings focus on the following topics:

  1. Overview of pig production in Nghe An (volume, scale, distribution, genotypes, types of feed, input and output markets, strengths, weakness and constraints, etc)
  2. Current and upcoming policy focuses (objectives, targets, support measures, shorthcomings and difficulties facing, intended solutions, etc)
  3. Directions to implement national livestock development strategy to 2020
  4. View point on smallholder production (role of smallholders, competitiveness, opportunities, challenges, smallholders vs large farms, current and upcoming support measures)
  5. Interest in discussion on measures to support smallholders in Nghe An and potential cooperation.

The following content is born out of the discussion

Overview of pig sector in Nghe An

  • Nghe An is among top provinces in term of livestock production volume with annual growth rate of about 4%.
  • General objective: Promote livestock production so as to raise livestock value share in agriculture to 50% (currently 34-36%)
  • The majority of pig producers are smallholders. Large, commercial farms are scarce (about 370 large livestock farms)
  • Input stock: basically from local supply
  • Genotypes:
    • Sows: Mong Cai sows are used extensively. Exotic and cross-bred sows are used in large farms
    • Slaughter hog: mainly cross-bred pigs between Mong Cai blood and exotic, high lean content genotypes, such as Large White, Duroc, Landrace. Purely exotic pigs are used in large farms
    • “Den” is an indigenous genotype and is raised in upland areas.
  • Feed: Pig production is still mainly scavenging system, using food leftovers and agricultural by-products. Industrial feed is used in more advanced farms, which often mix concentrated feed with home-grown unprocessed feed. Industrial feed in Nghe An includes following brand names: Golden Star (China), Con Heo Vang (Golden pig – Vietnam), Proconco and Cargill
  • Markets: local production caters basically for local demand, except for dictricts such as Dien Chau, Yen Thanh, Quynh Luu, where pig production is more developed and pigs are transported to Hanoi, Hai Phong, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City and China
  • Competitiveness: depending on input and output price. Presently, live pig price is too low, making pig raising less profitable
  • Opportunities:
    • Nghe An is a large province with large population, locating on the North – South route, which provides demand for pig products
    • Nghe An is an agricultural province with huge labor resource, which makes pig production highly suitable
    • Pig production is a long tradition
  • Constraints/Shortcomings/difficulties:
    • Cross-bred pigs are suitable for lowland and more advanced farms only
    • For scavenging system, domestic and indigeous breeds are more suitable
    • Controlling diseases and breed management is hot issues at this time
    • Feed and output prices are unstable
  • Pig production in upland areas:
    • Producers lack of pig raising knowledge and profit and loss accounting
    • Stock supply: insufficient supply, questionable quality and might be a source of disease transmission
    • Lack of high quality veterinary service
    • Capital is short and credit support policy is inadequate
    • Feed processing capacity is low

Current pig sector policies

  • There are 2 important decisions relating to pig production:
    • Decision 2037 on pig production plan in Nghe An to 2015, with the view to 2020, aiming at transforming small-scale production to medium and large scale production.
    • Decision 19 on selected investment policies to promote agricultural and aquatic production
  • General guideline: Promote gradual transformation large, commercial farming. Smallholder farms are developed in paralell with improved breed and feed, better environment protection by using biogas, improved disease control to create jobs, generate income and reduce poverty (decision 2037)
    • Current policies promote large farms by land and financial support
    • Current policies encourage higher-yieding breed adoption
    • Smalholder producers is provided technical advice and transfer. Other support is mainly for upland areas and for disease control when there are outbreaks
    • Support for smallholder producers also comes from poverty reduction programs or programs funded by NGOs
    • Pork processing company is supported to upgrade and a new factory is planned to be built in West Nghe An
    • An information center is planned to be formed to provide market information to farmers
    • DARD is preparing plan for 2010 and plan for the period 2010 – 2015

Viewpoint on smallholders

  • Smallholder production is important and remains so for long time:
    • Pig production is a tradition, especially in minor ethnic groups
    • Pig production makes use of food leftover and agricultural by-products
    • Pig production generates employment for poor farmers, for whom alternative jobs are scarce
    • In poverty reduction program, focus is often on livestock production
  • Smallholder competitiveness is low while middlemen such as pig traders are highly profitable. Reducing intermediary might help increase farmers’ profit
  • The problem is controlling diseases when smallholder awareness of and willing to take preventive measures is still limited
  • Contract farming should be developed
  • DARD will make effort to support vaccination for 100% smallholder producers, even in lowland areas

Interest in discussion on smallholder issues and potential for policy change

  • DARD agrees that more attention should be put on smallholder production but the problem is that present national policy focuses on large farms. There should be changes in national strategies/policies. There ought to be collective voices from DARD and others to induce changes in national level
  • If DARD agrees to support smallholders, what changes should be made? What should they do? DARD agrees that they will accept advices if they are good and feasible
  • Another issue is fund for supporting smallholders. Currently, fund for livestock production support is limited and current policy still biases cultivation
  • DARD is willing to cooperate with our project to find out ways to support smallholders

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