Piglet enterprise assessment and improvement in Cat Que Commune, Vietnam
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The mainstay of economic activity in Cat Que Commune, Hoai Duc District of Ha Tay Province in Vietnam is got raising, which is the production of piglets between 8 to 30 kg, filling a gap between the sow/piglet and meat pig productions. A cluster of associated enterprises have developed around this got-based enterprise which include the got raisers, piglet suppliers, feed and medicine suppliers, veterinarian services, got collectors, and manure collectors. The relationships with these associated enterprises form the basis of the complex enterprise strategies of the got raisers, which strive to balance a complex set of issues of feed, growth, season, disease control, labour, credit, and marketing in order to ensure the profitability and sustainability of the enterprise. The got are fed a rice-based diet, with occasional protein concentrate to speed up growth for seasons when got prices are high; while inferior feed is given when there is a glut in the market. Disease control is as much related to management as it is to marketing strategy and labour requirements. To sell the whole lot of got yields lower profit and leads to uneven labour requirements, but it provides the opportunity for thorough cleaning of the pig pens and a break in disease; both contribute to better health condition. Selling got on credit fosters relationships with the collectors, but also creates a cash flow problem which in turn is passed on to the feed suppliers who then must sell feed to got raisers on credit. The in-depth analysis of this complex set of interrelated issues provides the basis for elaborating an enterprise plan to improve the system. One research activity that has been completed is a trial on maize substitution for rice and the results showed significant improvement in growth rate (372 vs. 332 g/day of daily weight gain), reduced feed cost (6,013 vs. 7,654 vnd/kg weight gain - USD 1 = 15,400 vnd -), and higher profit (78,611 vs. 51,032 vnd per got). The disease survey also identified the management areas that affect the frequencies of illnesses, including pig pen design and flooring, living space, cleanliness (e.g., bathing frequency and thorough disinfection of pig pens), and drinking water source.
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