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Caribbean Swine Producers Tough It Out

by 5m Editor
25 March 2008, at 10:58am

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Producers the world over are having to live with massive increases in feed costs and the Dominican Republic is no different, especially since its producers rely on imported corn and soya from the USA, writes Stuart Lumb.

The Dominican Republic has around 70,000 sows. The Dominican Republic Swine Producers Association has 28 members, which includes two co-ops, with members buying shares in the association.

The national herd size has fallen slightly from 76,000 sows in 2006 to 70,000 currently, and numbers, hardly surprisingly, are still falling due to the current feed price crisis.

The association accounts for 22 per cent of the DR's sows, plus many of the members also produce broilers .Herd size ranges from 50- 2000 sows and productivity varies from 14-19 pigs/ sold/sow/year.

According to association President Fernando Fernandez (pictured second from right), two years ago it was possible to make a good living from 50 sows ,when producers were making a profit of £40 per pig - today a producer needs 500 sows and currently farmers are losing £10 per pig ( much less than the £26 UK producers are losing though).

Not much pork is consumed in the DR and the industry needs a promotional campaign similar to one that has been organised in Colombia.

Buying Policies

Corn and soya are imported in 30,000 ton boat loads and key association members meet weekly to discuss raw material buying policy.

All members are home mixers producing pig meal and raw materials are bought on credit.

The association has its own vitamin and mineral pre-mix manufacturing plant and premixes are also sold to non-members.

Antibiotics and AGPs are sourced from China and India.

The association is very proud of its vet lab, which is the only one on the island.

A team of six staff carry out PCR testing, supervised by a vet, also an association employee. Members have invested heavily in new buildings and breeding stock of late and it's to be hoped that they can weather the current financial storm.

5m Editor