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Old habits die hard

by 5m Editor
20 March 2006, at 12:00am

VIETNAM - Vietnamese people’s habits of slaughtering poultry at home or at the market may hinder the development of the large-scale slaughtering centres, experts say. Investors still hesitate to invest in large-scale poultry slaughterhouses despite encouragement from the Government. Vietnamese people, it seems, still prefer buying live chickens and slaughtering them at home. According to Nguyen Thanh Son, the Deputy Director General of the Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), poultry breeding makes up the second largest portion of the animal husbandry sector, following only pig breeding, in Vietnam. Every year, Vietnamese people process between 350,000 and 380,000 tonnes (live mass) of poultry, as well as 4-4.8 billion eggs. The biggest challenge to large-scale slaughterhouses is the small-scale breeding that goes on across the country. 70% of the eight million rural households in Vietnam breed poultry, and 65% of these operations are small-scale. One shortcoming of this system is that the breeding establishments possess very low capacity for growth. Even more worrying is the looming threat of avian flu. During the last outbreak of H5N1 in the country, approximately 50 million birds were lost. “It is very difficult to change old habits,” admits Nguyen Dang Van, Head of the Husbandry Department. Even a developed nation like the Netherlands has not been totally successful in discouraging small-scale husbandry. In Vietnam, where poultry breeding accounts for as much as 19% of a household’s total income, the problem is worse. “Small-scale breeding will always exist. The main concern now is inoculating all poultry to protect from epidemics. However, it will be very costly,” the official said. On the other hand, with large-scale breeding, such an inoculation program would be easier to carry out at an affordable cost. The sales volume for ready-made chicken products produced by the Phuc Thinh Company has fallen sharply recently to fewer than 100 chickens a day. Consumers prefer buying live chickens from markets and, in some cases, having these animals slaughtered by small-scale licensed slaughtering establishments. It should also be noted that consumers have an apparent aversion to frozen food products. <i>Source: VietNamNet</i>

5m Editor