Commercial Poultry and Pig Farming in Yangon's Peri-Urban ZoneDOWNLOAD FILE
Ben Belton, Ame Cho, Ellen Payongayong, Kristi Mahrt, Eric Abaidoo, 2020. Commercial Poultry and Pig Farming in Yangon's Peri-Urban Zone, FSP Research Paper 174.
This report presents results from a comprehensive structured survey of medium and large-scale pig and poultry farms conducted in the peri-urban zone surrounding Yangon. The survey represented pig farms raising five or more breeding sows or 20 or more swine, and all broiler, semi-broiler, and layer farms raising 500 or more birds, in randomly selected villages from 83 village tracts with high concentrations of pig and chicken farms, in Ayeyarwady, Bago (East) and Yangon regions. Owners of 90 pig farms, and 423 poultry farms (290 broiler, 38 semi-broiler, 95 layer) were interviewed.
The survey was supported by analysis of nationally representative data on poultry, meat, egg and dairy consumption for 2010 and 2015, poultry, meat, and egg retail prices from 2008 to 2017, and satellite images of peri-urban Yangon for 2014 and 2018. Together, these data sources allow us to characterize the economic and technical dimensions of medium and large-scale pig and poultry farming in Myanmar and recent trends in sectoral growth, to identify implications for policy and development programming. We summarize key findings and discuss their implications below.
Consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy grew from 2010 to 2015. Combined consumption per capita of meat, eggs, and dairy increased 13% at the union level. Almost all this increase occurred in urban areas, where consumption jumped 41%, to 28 kg/capita. Consumption in rural areas remained almost unchanged, at 18.7kg/capita. The total quantity of meat, eggs, and dairy consumed by the poorest 20% of households fell by 1.8 kg over this period, while the quantity consumed by the wealthiest 20% increased by 9.8 kg.
Increases in animal source food consumption were driven by chicken and eggs. Chicken consumption increased 72% from 2010-2015, to become the number one meat consumed (average 6.8 kg/capita). Consumption of chicken eggs increased 40%, to 4.0 kg/capita. These increases were partially offset by reduced consumption of pork, beef and mutton. Pork was the number one meat consumed in 2010, but consumption fell 22% to 4.3 kg in 2015. Beef consumption halved and mutton consumption fell by one-third over this period.
The real price of chicken meat and eggs has fallen, as the price of other meats as risen. The inflation adjusted price of chicken meat and eggs fell 29% and 36%, respectively, between 2008 and 2017. The real price of pork, beef, and mutton increased 10%, 34%, and 34%, respectively over the same period. In 2008, chicken meat was 15% more expensive than beef. By the end of 2017, it was 35% cheaper.
The number of integrated chicken-fish farms around Yangon doubled between 2014 and 2018. Integrated farms have animal houses built above or beside ponds to enable utilization of waste nutrients as inputs for fish culture. Analysis of satellite images shows the number of chicken houses integrated with fishponds in peri-urban Yangon grew from 1898 to 3868 from 2014-2018. The number of village tracts with integrated farms doubled from 121 to 230.
Two-thirds of poultry farms surveyed are integrated with fishponds. Integrating livestock and fish production has several advantages. (1) Much of the nutrients consumed by fish in integrated farms are obtained from algal blooms, fertilized by manure from animal houses above or beside the pond. This allows production of fish using limited or no feed, substantially reducing costs compared to non-integrated fish farms. (2) Integration means that manure does not accumulate on site, so farms are free of unpleasant odors and flies, and there is no need organize manure disposal. (3) Land use productivity is maximized as farms simultaneously produce two high value crops from a single parcel of land. (4) Producing fish at low cost helps farms to reduce the risks of poultry production, for which margins are often slim and prices volatile.
More than half of farms in our sample were established within the past five years. Average broiler and layer flock sizes per farm remained fairly constant since 2016, suggesting that increases in chicken and egg production among the strata of farms surveyed have been driven more by proliferation of new farms than by scale expansion.
Most land use in pig and poultry farming contravenes Myanmar’s agricultural land use classification system. Most parcels of land used for livestock production (91%) have some form of land use document associated with them, of which 69% are formal land use rights certificates. However, among parcels with formal land use rights, only 17% have a document (La Ya 30/La Na 39) that allows the land to be utilized for livestock production. Obstacles to obtaining the correct land use classification documents prevent farms from using land as collateral for formal loans, can necessitate payment of bribes, and may make tenure security vulnerable to changes in the enforcement of land use regulations.
Few farmers have received any formal training on pig or poultry farming. Only 11% of farms have received any formal training. Private companies are the main providers of extension services. Most information on farming is obtained from informal sources, with fellow farmers (mentioned by 63% of respondents) and relatives (30%) are most common. Social media plays an important role in the distribution of farming information (28%), as do staff of feed companies (32%). Formal government information sources were mentioned by 12% of respondents, and NGOs not at all. Knowledge about animal diseases is limited. An outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) - a severe viral disease – was occurring in Southeast Asia at the time of the survey. Half of pig farmers had no knowledge of the cause of ASF infections. Around 40% were not familiar with any ASF symptoms or means of prevention. Less than half of farms maintain records.
Pig farming is undergoing rapid technological change. Improved breeds of boar and sow are much more common than local breeds. Improved ‘CP’ breed pigs account for half of the swine, with ‘local’ breeds accounting for about one-quarter. Local breeds have a longer production cycle and attract a lower price than improved breeds, but can be raised wholly or partly on a diet containing items such as kitchen scraps, whereas improved pig breeds must be raised using formulated feeds (commercially manufactured feeds that are formulated to meet the complete nutritional requirements of the animal farmed) for optimum performance. Until 2010, most farms used non-formulated feeds. The share of farms using formulated feeds overtook the share using non-formulated feeds around 2015, indicating a recent shift toward intensification and commoditization of production. Eighty-nine percent of pig farms use formulated feeds.
The market for animal feed is diversifying and becoming more competitive. Thailand’s CP company dominates pig feed supply, with 48% of farms using their products. South Korea’s Sunjin company (16%) and China’s New Hope company (11%) are the two next largest suppliers. All broiler and semi-broiler farms use formulated feeds. The poultry feed market is more diverse than the pig feed market. One quarter of broiler farms use CP feed, with the same share using feed from Dutch company De Heus. Twenty percent of broiler farms use feed from Maykha (a Myanmar company that produces in partnership with Indonesian firm Japfa). A mix of Myanmar and foreign owned companies account for the remainder of the poultry feed market, with Myanmar companies among the top three suppliers of layer feed and semi-broiler feed. Five feed companies supply pelleted fish feeds, taking between 11% and 27% of market share each. A major change has occurred in Myanmar’s fish feed market structure since 2016, when a single Myanmar company dominated supply.
Implications for policy and programming
Chicken meat and eggs play an important role in Myanmar’s food and nutrition security, given the critical importance of animal source foods for combating undernutrition. Increasing production of chicken meat and eggs from 2010 to 2015 has made them much more affordable than in the recent past. This trend has helped to reduce, but not prevent, overall declines in animal source food consumption among poorer households. As of 2015, increases in pig production had not occurred on a sufficiently large scale make pork more affordable and avert declines in consumption, but pork prices have trended somewhat downward since then, and the steady growth and technological intensification of pig farms documented here suggests that this trend is likely to continue. From a nutrition perspective this dynamic represents a double-edged sword, as overconsumption of saturated fats from animal products is also associated with obesity and related negative health outcomes. Thus, there is a need for consumer education to promote adequate (but not excessive) levels of consumption, while encouraging healthier alternatives.
Integrated livestock-fish production should be recognized as a beneficial form of food production. Integrated farming reduces economic risks to livestock producers, utilizes land efficiently, produces fish at low cost, facilitates reuse of excess nutrients from livestock production, and eliminates unpleasant odors and flies. There is no export market for the fish produced in integrated systems, so there is little risk of antibiotic residues in fish from these farms damaging Myanmar’s aquaculture export prospects. As such, policy should seek to regulate this economically and environmentally efficient practice (e.g. by managing discharge of eutrophic water from ponds and mandating antibiotic withdrawals prior to harvest) rather than to ban it, as advocated in some quarters.
Land used for animal husbandry or aquaculture activities should be designated as agricultural land in the formal land classification system. This would strengthen the tenure security of the occupants, lessen opportunities for corruption, and reduce farmer vulnerability to changes in the enforcement of land use regulations.
Private actors in upstream segments of the value chain and targeted social media campaigns provide entry points for training and information dissemination. These could be coordinated with carefully selected influential farmers with large networks to maximize the reach of key messages. The limited extent of government and NGO training activities suggests scope for their expansion, perhaps in coordination with, or support of, private extension agents.
There are many opportunities to improve farm management and biosecurity. These include digital services such as dedicated record keeping apps, encouraging and promoting the expansion of artificial insemination services for pigs, improvements to the design of farm buildings, and instituting quarantine services for imported animals.