13 January 2017
SOUTH EAST ASIA – Pig farming is growing fast in Vietnam, and pig prices in the market are still in serious decline. One of the main reason for the decline in pig price is the enforced closure of the Chinese/Vietnam border vastly reducing the supplies entering China, and the Chinese traders are taking advantage of the current situation by reducing purchase prices, writes Paul Anderson, General Manager South East Asia.
With the break-even point for commercial farmers around 38-39.000 VND/Kg, most farmers are now losing money. We are waiting to see what influence the Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Tet holiday (Lunar New Year) has on the pig price, not as much as if China returns to a flexible border control in order to benefit from its neighbour Vietnam’s plentiful supply of pork meat.
Consumption is growing by an average of 4.9 per cent per year and has now reached 38.3kg per capita. Around 99.6 per cent of Vietnamese people consume pork, by far the favourite meat. Imports are rising faster than production, 15.2 per cent per year against 1.9 per cent. The Vietnamese prefer warm meat from wet markets which, in some way, protects the local industry, while imported pork is often used for processed meat or frozen in modern retailing.
With the new large scale commercial companies coming into pig production the total number of pigs now stands at 29.1 million, increased 4.8 per cent from the same period last year, and will continue to increase as the fresh production comes on stream and the large commercial producers who import their advanced Genetics increase their output through genetic improvement by up to 0.75 pig per sow per year.
The Vietnamese market is split by region between the south, centre and north, as well as between urban and countryside consumers. The majority of people in the countryside, 72 per cent of the overall population, are still employed in farming and fishing, meaning nearly 50 per cent of the total Vietnamese population is employed in primary activities. Urbanites consume 30 per cent more food in value than country people and have fast rising incomes, 16.1 per cent against 6 per cent in 2015 for country dwellers, the highest on record. Modern retailing is limited to the cities: highest in Ho Chi Minh City (18.6 per cent of food sales) followed by Hanoi, Cantho and Danang. The food market is expected to grow by 14 per cent in urban areas between 2015 and 2020 and by 34 per cent in rural areas. Dairy products, increasingly local, are benefiting of this increase. As it is the case in other Asian markets, eating out in all forms is absolutely huge. Vietnam has a young and rising population: 93.4m people, 60 per cent of which are under 35 years of age.
Meat quality and safety is an important topic, especially in the South of Vietnam, as more companies join Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices, or VietGAP, to improve the food safety standard around Ho Chi Minh City. VietGAP is based on the Global G.A.P. standard. They are making a food safety code of practice for meat sold in the supermarket. Being from the UK, I am used to such schemes like the UK Red Tractor farm assurance scheme. What impressed me was that they have taken this a step further by the use of current technology and the meat you buy in the supermarket can be traced back to the processor, slaughterhouse and the farm where it was produced on your smartphone.
Premium pork launch by Le Porc du Mékong is a new venture involving meat processor Le Boucher and 600 pig farmers in the Mekong Delta. The initiative aims for 360,000 slaughter pigs in Year 1.
Thailand struggles to curb gluts, and is struggling to get rid of oversupplies of live pigs through boosting cross border trades with China and Cambodia. Oversupplies of live pigs in Thailand amounted to about 6000 heads/day in December. This is a result of slowdown in pork consumption due to falling chicken prices and shrinking cross border trades of live pigs with China and Cambodia.
Output of live pigs was about 46,000 heads/day in the month. However, the consumption was only about 38,000 – 40,000 heads/day.
A sharp decline in pork consumption corresponded to dropping chicken price, which was below THB 35/kg or about USD 1/kg in December (down from around USD 1.5 a month earlier). The consumers switched to chicken and natural fish, which was abundant at the end of monsoon months.
Another reason is that Thailand’s exports of live pigs to China and Cambodia fell tremendously from about 5000 pigs/day earlier to only 1000 pigs/day. The Thai Swine Raisers Association is trying to boost the export by offering various incentives to pig farmers to ship their pigs across the border.
Anyway, the consumption and export is expected to rebound in the end of December to February. This is because of New Year festivals in Thailand and neighbouring countries would boost the consumption of pork during these months a great deal.
The Filipinos love pork! In the Philippines you can enjoy Pork cooked and presented in so many different ways and it tastes delicious but there is a willingness to improve the meat eating quality and further enhance the consumer’s pork meal experience. Recent USDA FAS data shows that pork consumption in recorded Asian countries (including the Philippines) accounts for no less than 59 per cent of the world total. At Genesus, we are the drivers of high meat quality aimed at not only the premium market but the standard markets as well. With the data to back it up, we are serving many processors and other members of the pork supply chain.
New import complications, meat importers have warned against the return of congestion at the country’s ports following the Department of Agriculture’s decision to cancel all import permits on agricultural products. The delivery of electronic import permits are being suspended, meaning delays in the delivery of import licenses. Both importers and exporters suspect that the new procedure aims at protecting domestic production, thanks to red tape and an administrative burden. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F Piñol said he intended to issue “immediately” a special order recalling all permits issued, in an effort to curb smuggling by the repeated use or “recycling” of import papers.
Jesus Cham, President of the Meat Importers’ and Traders’ Association, said there was a lot of confusion following Piñol’s statement. In a separate development, the Department of Agriculture pledged to increase the duty on offal from the current 5 per cent to 30 per cent, the rate for meat, “in order to combat smuggling”.
High imports during the first eight months of the year, the Philippines imported 185,000 tonnes of pork with Spain and Germany providing half the volume. They were followed by France, Canada, the USA and Belgium.