Difficulties facing livestock industry during the Covid-19 period

In the early days of 2020, the novel corona virus-infected pneumonia epidemic situation evolved in a complex and unpredictable direction and the epidemic peak could not be forecast. But its impacts are showing increasing seriousness on the socio-economic situation in Vietnam. For agriculture in general and animal husbandry in particular, its impacts on production and husbandry are just the beginning.

For the pig industry, the combination of ASF in 2019 and the acute pneumonia caused by the Covid-19 virus in early 2020 have doubled difficulties for the sector. Therefore, the re-herd is forecast to be difficult to take place in a short time. On the other hand, according to the statistics from the General Department of Customs, the import of animal feed and materials in January 2020 only reached USD 222 million, down 25.04% compared to the previous month and 41.65% from the same month last year.

In the coming time, the difficulties facing livestock industry will become more and more severe. Besides, the spread of Covid-19 is also greatly affecting commercial activities. Vietnam’s animal product import and export companies are also in the same situation when trading activities between Vietnam and other countries, especially China, are delayed. The epidemic also largely affects many other livestock industries because of the restriction on cross-border trade such as the import of silkworm eggs, products for breeding activities from China.

The disruption in the supply chains of animal products such as meat, fish, and poultry eggs has sharply reduced demand due to oversupply. In addition, the anxiety of consumers when there is news that avian influenza A/H5N6 is recurring in some provinces and cities in the country makes the price of poultry meat decline.

Through monitoring the market situation, the purchasing power of consumers clearly showed a decrease. Concerning about the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, many people were afraid to go to crowded places such as markets and supermarkets. Food shops and restaurants also operated moderately or had to close because the number of customers decreased due to the disease and also the regulations of Decree no. 100/2019/ND-CP. Therefore, the prices of some seafood products, chicken and beef sharply decreased; consumption was slower than the same period. According to the General Statistics Office, the consumer price index in February 2020 decreased by 0.17% over the previous month. It is forecast that prices of poultry products will remain low and the increase in prices of the poultry products after March will depend on two main factors: the control of Covid-19 in humans and the avian influenza A/H5N1 and avian influenza A/H5N6 in poultry in the localities.

Given the uncertainty from the epidemic, it is important for farmers to work more closely with regulatory agencies and access to official information sources to make appropriate decisions, helping minimize losses in their livestock operations.

Pham Dung – International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CITA)