The pork value chain in Vietnam: Emerging trends and implications for smallholder competitiveness

Pig production in Vietnam has increased in response to the rise in demand, at about 8 percent annually, on average, during the last decade. At least 80% of annual production is still contributed by household‐based pig producers (i.e., those with less than 10 pigs). Along with the rise in production, the number and types of actors in the pork supply chain have also increased. A participatory rural appraisal was conducted to obtain an overview of pig value chains in Vietnam. Market actor surveys were then implemented in three representative sites in three provinces located in three regions. Each survey was preceded by a stakeholder consultation workshop organized in each province with participation of various market actors in the pork supply chain. Semi‐structured interviews of 47 different types of market actors were carried out subsequently to collect detailed information about input and output volumes, sources and outlets of products and information, preferred attributes of inputs and outputs, costs incurred, and constraints faced. Key findings indicate that smallholder pig producers have the comparative advantage to supply pork with the preferred attributes of being fresh and unchilled. Pig traders are the dominant players in the chain in terms of their strong influence on prices and the coordination role they perform in directing supply of pigs and carcass according to market demand. In informal markets for fresh pork, quality control is based on trust. Personal relationships with meat retailers in traditional markets built from repeated transactions over time can supplant any formal certification and labelling. The estimated value added generated in pork value chains where household‐based pig producers are participating is 11,700 VND or about $0.62 per kg liveweight of output. Pig producers capture about half of the value added. These results highlight the importance of smallholder producers' continued inclusion in these chains from a livelihoods perspective. This contribution is significant in the context of pro‐poor pig sector development in particular and the broader rural development agenda in general. Policy interventions to enhance smallholder participation in emerging pork value chains given their relative importance in supply and employment generation will need to be explored.