Can small-scale livestock farmers compete?

July 13, 2008

Thirty-eight year old Lorna Clerigo has been raising pigs for more than half of her lifetime. Her father taught her the ins and outs of pig production at a tender age. But Lorna started growing pigs on her own only when she got married in 1989.  With an initial inventory of just 30 pigs, and armed with technical experience, sheer guts and determination, Lorna has since added a few pig pens here and there and before she knew it, she was raising 350 head of pigs twice a year. Her farm is located along the rolling terrain of Barangay Sorosoro Ibaba, Batangas City, about 112 kilometers south of Metro Manila, Philippines.

For Lorna, growing pigs as an independent producer was not an option because she thought that she would not be able to compete with the large-scale producers in her town. She faced many challenges, including the cost of quality feeds and other inputs, lack of access to credit, and breaking into a competitive market as a small producer.

To overcome these constraints, she began raising pigs under contract with the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC). SIDC provides Lorna with relatively good sources of weanlings and veterinary services, extends loans of up to Php200,000 (about US$4,400), and provides other useful resources.

The future of small livestock farmers like Lorna will depend on the options for institutional arrangements such as contract farming that integrate farmers in high-value supply chains.

To see IFPRI’s latest research on the forces shaping market access for small holder farmers, please visit