Development of Pro-poor Pork Value Chain

The pork industry in Vietnam creates around four million full-time jobs each year. Most pig farms are relatively small, with more than 85 percent of 3.5 million households breeding just one to nine pigs per batch. In these small-scale producer families it is often women who take care of the pigs.

Small scale pig farmers often lack access to capital, technical knowledge, modern technology, and market information. As a result, there are losses along the value chain, and small-scale producers get just a small share of the final price paid by end consumers. In addition, government policies on the pork industry tend to favour large-scale production. Small-scale producers may benefit from new technology in slaughtering processes, veterinary services and farming techniques, but there is also a risk that the most vulnerable producers will be increasingly marginalised by competition from larger pig farms.

Providing better livelihood opportunities

Oxfam is complementing government policies to make sure that an upgraded pork value chain can also provide better livelihood opportunities for small-scale farmers, women in particular, and contribute to reducing poverty in poor households. Oxfam participates as a member of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s advisory panel, providing input and support to maximise the positive social impacts of upgrading the value chain and avoiding negative impacts on small-scale farmers.

A series of studies will analyse the challenges and opportunities facing small-scale pig farmers. The first of these has been completed and provides an overview of the pork value chain and pork market in Vietnam as well as the policy implications of upgrading the pork value chain, including the impact on women and smallholder pig farmers.

Supporting women and small-scale pig farmers in Lao Cai

Oxfam and the Lao Cai provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are piloting a model to demonstrate how small-scale farmers, in particular poor women and ethnic minorities, can benefit from involvement in the pork value chain.  

Oxfam has been working in Lao Cai for more than 15 years on poverty reduction, women’s empowerment, and agricultural development, and has strong partnerships with local government agencies. The pork value chain model builds on an earlier Oxfam project (2011-2015) to support women’s economic empowerment and leadership. This project provided ethnic minority women with opportunities to increase their contribution to, and ownership of, family income through income generated from the production of black pigs. Oxfam promoted gender equality in decision-making at the household, community and market levels, based on the understanding that gender equality is an essential strategy for sustainable poverty reduction because of women’s higher poverty rates.

As a result of Oxfam’s efforts, ethnic minority women have successfully raised and sold black pigs, increasing their household incomes. Women also became more actively involved in household decisions, local community affairs and decision-making processes. The project evaluation showed a more equal relationship between men and women at both the household and community level, with an increasing number of men sharing domestic work responsibilities.

These good practices and lessons learnt are being applied in the new Lao Cai project, which will continue to focus on promoting gender equality. As part of the work, Oxfam is integrating its Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in all the project activities. Working together with the Centre for Community Empowerment (CECEM) and local partners, Oxfam is providing training on gender equality and facilitating the application of GALS methodology in social and economic development planning to farmer groups, the Lao Cai Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and district and commune authorities. These local stakeholders make sure that the specific concerns, needs and wishes of both women and men are taken into account throughout the value chain.

Oxfam is helping to set up new farmer groups in Lao Cai and is offering training on technical subjects such as pig raising and disease prevention. So far, 11 farmer groups have been set up, involving more than 200 households and including both women and men. Oxfam is also helping farmers to access market information and is facilitating cooperation between pig farmers and other value chain actors, such as traders, agricultural extension agencies, and financial service providers.


Project: Development of pro-poor pork value chain

Location: Lao Cai province and national-level advocacy

Time frame: 2015 - 2017

Funding: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands