|Zoom: The Thias pig industry behind CPF and Betagro
When people think of the Thai pig industry, they often think of the two largest integrators on the market, being Charoen Pokphand Foods and Betagro. Since they occupy approximately 30% of the total domestic market, more than 70% remains in the hands of small, medium and larger farms. Among these followers, no real winner can be spotted. There is a wide variety of different groups with different objectives, all involved in raising pigs. One thing, however, binds them together: they all professionalise and increasingly take into account the desires from customers.
Associations and cooperatives
In various places throughout the country, groups of farms can be found establishing associations or uniting themselves in cooperatives. This way producers can better respond to current challenges in the pig industry, like e.g. the influence of Free Trade Arrangements, causing foreign pork to enter the Thai market. Other topics include the government’s approach to control pork prices and communication with consumers. Swine producers are also united in the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand, a primary and a central service to address challenges like these.
The group of larger farms have developed a culture towards becoming integrations. Good examples are Kanchana Farm, Veerachai Farm, Laemthong Sahakran Farm, Panas Phokkhaphun Farm, SPM Farm, Porn Prachuap Farm, Mitraphap Farm, VP Farm and RMC Farm. These can be found high up in Table 4, ranking the 20 most important swine breeding companies in Thailand at present. These farms have been growing and developing their farm management systems, production management, biosecurity system standards, marketing management and supply chain development – in short, they increased their compliance to their local market.
In this sense, the direction the pig industry is going does not differ much from the leading two agricultural giants CPF and Betagro. Thailand’s larger independent farms have a long experience in the pig industry. Apart from continuous development, they are developing strains of both GGP stock and parent stock, there have been construction of feed plants, adding of contract farms, building of pig slaughterhouses, creating pork product distribution channels and good marketing developed.
It is believed that this pool of larger and medium-sized farms has the potential of growing further. Experience gained in a long tradition of raising pigs, the Thai pig industry is confident to transfer technology to neighbouring countries, like is also done in the broiler industry.
Development is guaranteed for Thai pig producers in the years to come. New heirs to family pig farms receive good education from both within and outside the country, as access to continuous care and development is key to keep the family business growing and to bring new technology into their farms. Educational institutions and universities, in turn, applaud cooperation with operations in the field for research purposes. This way they are making it an important part in stimulating and driving the development of larger and medium-sized farms. This way, universities contribute to reaching the goal of being competitive to improve production all the time. For the future, basic production will continue to be key, but by applying modern technologies. It is fundamental to the development of primary production to increase efficiency and productivity. There are various fields where continuous modernisation is required:
- Breeding: Increasing productivity and having a strong and more prolific breeding herd.
- Animal nutrition: Developing renewable energy sources and materials that will decrease the cost of raw materials to manufacture appropriate feeds.
- Management systems: Developing modern and appropriate housing to increase productivity, and prevent diseases.
- Pollution and environment: Developing installations like biogas to producing electricity for own use. This can also help reduce environmental problems related to smell.
- Legislation: Creating more awareness for food safety, animal welfare and disease prevention.
- Marketing & communication: Developing of own product brands, e.g. by using quality marks like the Q Mark from the Department of Livestock Development; and creating information systems that will state what impacts a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) can have.