The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners in Southeast Asia have started a series of market research and value chain improvement efforts aimed at improving smallholder pig farming in the Philippines and Vietnam.
Using experiences from previous and ongoing research in native pigs production and marketing in the Philippines, ILRI and partners will expand best practices on pig farming by piloting production and business models for smallholder pig farmers in the two Southeast Asia countries.
To mark the start of this initiative, a stakeholder consultation meeting on a proposed project on native pig production in Vietnam and the Philippines was held, 11 December 2015, in Los Baños, Philippines.
The proposed project will focus on improving the production of native pigs, which fetch higher incomes for farmers—in some cases 50-100% more than mixed breed and commercial pigs—and better-tasting and preferred by pork consumers.
Representatives from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), the Bureau of Animal Industry-Native Swine and Poultry Research Development Center (BAI-NSPRDC), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) animal science and animal and dairy sciences clusters, Marinduque State College (MSC), Ifugao State University (IFSU) and ILRI joined the meeting.
Steve Staal, ILRI regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, and Synan Baguio, officer-in-charge at PCAARRD’s Livestock Research Division, co-convened the consultation and shared details of ongoing projects on native pigs to identify similarities and available baseline information that can be used in the proposed project.
The proposed collaborative native pigs project will focus on livelihoods, genetic resources and nutrition in the two countries, which have a rich pig genetic diversity that is threatened by growing use of exotic pig breeds. The project will promote the use of native pig breeds by using a market-driven model that will also address conservation of genetic resources and improved household diets.
Existing market demand for native pigs in Southeast Asia offers an opportunity to leverage support for conservation of native pig breeds, which are highly adapted to local settings and climate variability, ensuring the sustainability of an important genetic resource for future generations. Southeast Asia has the highest diversity of pig genetics in the world.
Through the project, smallholder producers of native pigs will generate important livelihood improvement opportunities through the technical training on native pig farming and marketing support they receive. This will enable to improve pig production consistency and participate in more specialized markets that promise better incomes.
The project will build on an ongoing project on conservation, improvement and profitable utilization of native pigs and a collaboration between UPLB and the National Taiwanese University, which focuses on molecular productivity markers and tracing the origins and genetic similarities of Philippine and Taiwanese pigs.
Participants highlighted a need to address food safety concerns, lack of accredited slaughterhouses in provinces, inefficient and inequitable marketing practices to enable smallholders improve pig farming. They also called for a review of policy regulations on transporting of pigs and meat products and emphasized the cultural importance of native pigs in the two countries.
Feedback from this meeting will be included in the final project proposal.
Read more about ILRI’s native pig research in Vietnam.