Pigs are ubiquitous all over Vietnam, especially in rural areas; almost all households raise at least one pig for household consumption or as a source of cash. Across the country, household-based pig producers are widely spread, with relatively higher proportion in the north, specifically in the Red River Delta, the North East, and the North Central Coast, relative to the South. In the latter, some concentration of households can be observed in the Mekong River Delta.
The livestock sector contributes over 21% of agricultural GDP (6% of national GDP), of which pig production accounts for 71% of livestock output. The recent increase in livestock production has been driven by rising domestic demand, particularly in urban areas where per capita incomes have risen fastest. In general, meat demand has been rising among a growing population of consumers that is increasingly urbanized, having more income and thereby able to shift their diets from starch-based to a more diversified diet with more meat, fish, and dairy products.
Currently, smallholders (or households with less than 10 heads of pigs) account for at least 85% of pig production in Vietnam. Smallholder pig production generates employment (about 4 million fulltime jobs along the pork supply chain). Household labour constitutes the main labour inputs in household based pig production; Women labour accounts for 1.5 times the labour use in household based pig production.
Pig raising is and will continue to be part of a suite of activities in mixed crop–livestock systems in Vietnam. Intensification will happen and is already happening at different levels across the regions of the country, likely driven by the opportunities from increasing demand and also improved infrastructure that allows easy access to both input and output markets. Productivity and efficiency issues remain critical constraints to a sustainable intensification process, particularly in the context of limited household landholdings and increasing wages in the manufacturing sector.
Increased productivity of smallholder pig systems will have direct benefits to rural livelihoods through increased ecoefficiencies of production systems.