VIET NAM - The market pig numbers and the demand for pork just before TET (the New Year Festival) were higher than first estimated. There was an adequate supply of pork for the holidays, writes Ron Lane, Business Director for Asia Pacific and Meggie Vo, Genesus Marketing Representative in Viet Nam.
According to the Department of Livestock (MARD) and during the TET (Lunar New Year), it was estimated that the total number of slaughtered pigs was about 4.2 to 4.5 million market pigs nationwide, equivalent to about 310 thousand tonnes of pork
This is an increase of over 10 per cent compared with the average number of pigs slaughtered each month. For the months of March and April, pork supplies will continue to hold steady.
Viet Nam currently has about 26.80 million pigs (up 2.0 to 2.5 per cent from last year at this time). Pig production and pork production in Viet Nam is still mainly from small livestock farms that still account for 65-70 per cent of the pigs marketed and 56-60 per cent for the pork produced. These farms do not have the efficiency of large scale farms.
According to the Department of Animal Husbandry, during the time from June to July, annual meat consumption (in general) should decline from the current level of slaughter pigs after TET, but still remain on average, from 3.5 - 4 million pigs/month and this will not increase compared with the same period last year.
Blue ear pig: As of 23/03/2015, the country no longer has any province with reported pig blue ear within 21 days.
Although the live market hog prices have slipped back to 46,000 to 47,000 VND/kg ($ 2.13 to $ 2.18 USD/kg-$ 0.97 to $ 0.99 USD/lb) which is down by 500-700 VND/kg ($ 0.02 to $ 0.03 USD/kg-$ 0.01 to $ 0.015 USD/lb.) compared with the previous month.
However, this amount is still profitable for the farmers. Cost of production is around 38,000 to 41,000 VND/market pig ($ 1.76 to $1.90 USD/kg-$ 0.80 to $ 0.86 USD/lb.) Thus a farmer will show profit margins between 5,000 to 8,000 VND/kg ($ 0.23 to $ 0.37 USD/kg-$ 0.11 to $ 0.17 USD/lb) On a 100 kg market hog, this would amount to 500,000 to 800,000 VND/market pig ($ 23.19 to $ 37.10 USD) for gross profit.
For animal feed and feed ingredients, cassava and cassava products are still the main export products.
The total volume of exports of cassava and cassava products for March 2015 was estimated at 599 thousand tonnes with a value of $ 175 million USD (the total volume of export commodities for the first three months of 2015 reached 1.37 million tonnes worth $ 420 million USD-up 24 per cent in volume and 22.7 per cent in value over the same period of 2014).
The value of imports of various commodity groups and animal feed ingredients for March 2015 was estimated at $ 272 million USD, bringing the first quarter of imports in 2015 to reach 834 million tonnes, up 28.2 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The major import markets for these commodities were Argentina (33.8 per cent of the share), followed by the US (27.8 per cent market share) and China (7.9 per cent market share).
Prices of feed ingredients such as corn, soybean meal and cassava meal ... increased two to three times last month. This causes increased production costs. Other events, such as the state of natural disasters, unfavorable weather patterns and competitive use have also affected production costs.
Competitive uses include the use of corn and cassava residues for the production of biofuels. This is becoming more common when oil prices were higher. Production costs also increased due to the costs of inputs such as electricity, water, oil and fuel and labour.
Nguyen Dang Vang, Chairman of Vietnam Association of Livestock identified that 2014 was a successful year for Viet Nam's livestock industry. One of the causes for success is the improvement in breeding stock. In particular, a further cause of this success is due to structural transformation of livestock production in the direction of the large-scale farms that purchase or import better breeding stock. Also, these Agri-businesses apply enhanced quality control and food safety in animal husbandry.
He also tells the famers not to worry about meat imports. One of the problems that all livestock producers fear is the uncertainty about the prospects for the livestock markets in 2015 as a series of free trade agreements have been signed that could increase the massive imports of meat from abroad. However, as Mr Vang, mentioned, that by the end of 2015, the General ASEAN Economic Community will be formed, but this is not worrisome for the livestock industry in the country.
Currently, any of the meat imported from countries within Asia into Viet Nam are entitled to a five per cent duty tax, however over the past years not one kilogram or pound of meat has been imported from Asia into Viet Nam.
In recent years, the main meat imports were from the US market (which accounted for more than 50 per cent last year). In 2014, Viet Nam imported 3,300 tonnes of pork, accounting for less than 0.1 per cent of the meat consumed in the country. Therefore imports have a small impact.
Moreover, pork imported from abroad is mainly frozen, which is not consistent with the culinary culture of Viet Nam-mainly fresh pork (wet market). The amount of meat imports in 2015 should not be much and should not affect the domestic livestock industry.
However, on the other hand, is the concern, according to Mr Vang, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that is still being negotiated. According to Mr Vang, the pork and beef industry will be affected most-from pork imports from the US and beef imports from Australia.
For local pig producers and during the next two years, they will have to have the best breeding stock and a well-organized and developed food chain. The market pig price may well be reduced by at least 10 per cent , thus the local producers need to prepare to compete with cheaper imported meat.
Recently, three varieties of GM corn from Syngenta have been approved by the national government to be planted through-out the country in 2015 ( NK66 GT, NK66 BT and NK 66 BT/GT).
The three varieties will be grown in specified regions, but all three are noted to resist pests and herbicides as well as produce higher yields. These varieties will be used only for animal feed. The initial aim of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is to have 30 to 50 per cent of the country’s grain production areas to be using GM crops by 2020.
This past month the CPI showed a modest increase. The CPI in March, 2015 rose by 0.15 per cent over the previous month, was 0.93 per cent higher over the same period from last year and was down 0.1 per cent as compared to December 2014.
Average CPI in the first quarter compared with the March 2014 increased by 0.74 per cent . Again, the world oil price increases caused both gas and diesel to increase. During and after TET holidays, outside the home food consumption increases and thus food and catering component of the CPI group also increased (up 0.36 per cent ).