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Taming beasts for Saigon’s tables   2009-10-28 - VietNamNet/SGTT

Weasels and porcupines, wild boar and pythons and crocodiles are now being farm-raised near HCM City, bringing profits to farmers.

 

 
As expensive as if they were shot in the forest

 

Nguyen Van Ky’s wild boar farm on the southern fringe of HCM City is always full of visitors, according to recent story in Saigon Tiep Thi.  The visitors come either to purchase hogs for breeding or to buy several kilos of meat for family parties, to sample the ‘taste of the wild.’

 

Ky has been raising wild boars for seven or eight years; he has 500 of the beasts on his farm yet his meat output still cannot catch up with demand.

 

“Co-op Mart and Metro order 500 kilos per week, but I have to refuse big orders. To deliver 500 kilos of dressed meat, I must have 1500 kilos of live weight,” he said.

 

Ky’s is the biggest wild beast farm in the region around HCM City.  He slaughters up to fifteen animals every day, serving restaurants in the southern metropolis.  Lately, Ky has concentrated on selling breeders.

 

Two years ago, Saigon farmers also began farming musk-cats (cầy hương) on a large scale.  The meat of this valuable forest speciality is selling in some restaurants in HCM City for 1.7-1.8 million dong per kilo.

 

Vu Huy Thanh has 100 pairs of musk-cats at his farm in suburban Phu Nhuan and 10 years of experience raising them.  Thanh said he can sell breeders as quickly as he can raise them.  A pair will fetch him 1.8 to three million dong.

 

Some farmers also began raising another rare animal, the porcupine (nhím), ten years ago.  The total number of porcupines has reached 2,500, but none have yet been marketed.

 

Making a good living farming wild beasts

 

More residents in big cities now have the chance to enjoy ‘H’Mong chicken’ at the relatively ‘soft price’ of 95,000 dong per kilo, 30,000 dong more than the price of normal chicken.  Their black meat is on sale at stores of the Saigon Co-op, Metro, Lotte and Maximark chains.

 

Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga, the owner of a H’Mong chicken farm in Long An province, said that her farm is providing some 5000 of the fowl to the HCM City market every month.

 

Besides, housewives in HCM City have gotten familiar with a new kind of eggs,  said to be the eggs of Egyptian fowls, selling at 2,500-2,700 dong for each.

 

Nguyen Dinh Cuong, Head of the HCM City Forest Management Sub-department gave these numbers for forest animals being farmed in HCM City under license: 24,000 pythons, 373 bears, 36,000 snakes, 84,000 tortoises and 550 wild boars.

 

“To date, government agencies have granted license to sell only some kinds of animals only as commercial products, while other kinds of animals are still being multiplied,” Cuong said.

 

The Saigon Tiep Thi reporters who visited Ky’s wild boar farm found that the boars roam in big pens. They eat only water hyacinth, bran, cassava, carrots, greens and jackfruit; they are not fed industrial food. The protein-poor diet explains why a wild boar weighs only 40 kilos at six months of age, while a normal pig can weigh 100 kilos in the same time.

 

“It takes much time to breed the animals, therefore, it is impossible to mass-produce them here,”  Ky said.

 

Ky has decided to set up ‘satellite’ farms in many other provinces, increasing his herd of wild boars to 10,000 in anticipation of filling big commercial orders.

 

Ky said that the HCM City Farmers’ Association has established a ‘wild boar cooperative’.

 

“I will provide breeders to 10 farms in some districts in the suburbs of the city. We will have a big cooperative then,” he said.

 

Thanh and other musk-cat farm owners have also thought of developing farms in other provinces to raise animals for the big city market. As such, in the near future, wild animal meat will become more common on urbanites’ festive tables.



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