Raising the bar for swine farming in Vietnam
We talk to Mr. Nguyen Huu Tri, Head of the Pioneer Safe Swine Farming Cooperative in Vietnam on #FarmerFriday.
Mr. Nguyen, can you please tell us what safe swine farming means to you?
Safe swine farming means that we ensure safety in all aspects of hygiene, quality and health of the animal, as well as for our staff who take care of them. In Vietnam, we aspire to achieve certification by the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices or VietGAP initiative.
So, what agricultural standards do VietGAP certified farms fulfill?
VietGAP was initiated in 2008 by the Vietnam Gardening Association to enhance the standard of farming in Vietnam, after our nation joined the World Trade Organization. VietGAP supports farmers with good farming methods to ensure that our products meet hygiene and quality standards, and can be traded on the global market. Starting with regulations for crop production, VietGAP has now expanded to livestock and aquaculture. The criteria for VietGAP certification for livestock farmers are stringent and encompass good practices in farming technology, food safety and work environment. VietGAP representatives visit farms regularly and certification is only granted to farmers after strict assessment.
What is the idea behind the Pioneer Safe Swine Farming Cooperative?
Almost 8 million people live and work in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), and the demand for safe food is growing. To help meet this need, a group of us founded the Pioneer Safe Swine Farming Cooperative in 2007 by gathering 8 swine farms located in Cu Chi, a suburb of HCMC.
Our founding members come from different backgrounds – farmer, veterinarian, software engineer, feed agents and retirees. We all had one key objective with our Cooperative, which was to pioneer and attain VietGAP Standards for livestock production in HCMC, towards providing consumers with safe swine products over the long term.
How does the Cooperative make a difference?
The Cooperative professionalizes the swine farming process from breed selection, right through to the end products made available to consumers. This is achieved by ensuring that we comply with regulations on safe farm organization and management, which encompass key aspects such as: disease management, infant breed inspection, use of veterinary medicine only upon consultation with veterinarians, and high-quality nutrition from credible suppliers. We are appreciative that right from day-one, our Cooperative has been supported with professional consultation from government agencies such as the Institute Of Agricultural Science For Southern Vietnam, as well as corporations, such as Bayer Vietnam.
What are some of your successes so far?
We have many achievements in almost 10 years of operation. One is our success in ensuring pure air around the ranch so that the community around us is not affected. Also, thanks to the strict adherence to annual disease control and prevention, we have successfully avoided common diseases on our farms. These successes help build our Cooperative farm owners’ confidence that they will be able to provide safe and quality products to consumers.
Moving forward, the Pioneer Safe Swine Farming Cooperative is looking to increase the implementation of VietGAP Standards throughout the Cooperative, and further grow the market share of Pioneer swine products. We will also invest further into the value chain, such as in self-breeding, to be better able to ensure the quality of our end products. Another important aspect is also to build our brand and meet the growing demand for quality swine products. We believe that our innovative approach and application of breakthrough technologies will help pave the way to success.