Vu Van Ngoc belongs to the Thai ethnic minority and lives in Nghia Lo Town (Yen Bai Province). As a butcher he has been buying pigs from Van Chan district for many years, where pig raising is a traditional source of income for local people. Every day, he sells about 6-7 tons of pigs to Nghia Lo, Son La and Ha Giang.
However, while people have been mostly focusing on raising indigenous pigs or indigenous breeds crossed with foreign pigs (known as F1), in recent years the market is demanding pigs with leaner meat, such as F1 pigs that have been crossed again with foreign pigs (known as F2). Therefore, his business was facing difficulties as he was not able to collect the type of pigs that his customers were demanding.
In 2011, Ngoc heard about CODESPA’s project “Strengthening the pork value chain in Van Chan” with the financial support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID). CODESPA and the local partner organisation HADEVA provided him with contact information of pig raising groups that have been established through the project, and that are increasingly raising F2 pigs. He contacted the leaders of the groups, and made arrangements with them to collect pigs on a regular basis.
Ngoc also started supplying F2 piglets to some households so they can raise them, and pay for them when selling back the full grown pigs to him. Ngoc commented: “What is important for me is to have good pigs to sell to the market. I am happy to provide the piglets on credit if it helps me to guarantee a steady supply to my customers”. Through this initiative, households with low investment capacity can increase the number of pigs they sell and therefore their income that can rise up to $105 per year reducing their investments.
The aim of this program, whose beneficiaries are 15.000 people, 40% of them in extreme poverty, is to reinforce the performance and the linkages between all the actors in the market. We have already achieved very positive results as not only the families’ purchasing power has been raised, but the environmental impact of their activities has been reduced.