January 16, 2019
Improvement of Vietnam's livestock sector needed, say officials
In line with Vietnam's key export priority, Vietnamese meat products have to be both high quality, safe for consumption and affordable, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.
However, while there are around 23,000 farms in Vietnam, only 1,505 facilities received certification of being epidemic-free.
Livestock farming should also be sustainable, and this can be supported through stronger connections established between producers, processors and consumers, Dr. Nguyen Thanh Son, former director of the National Institute of Animal Sciences, said.
Yet, when it comes to monitoring production, processing and selling animal-related products, business associations and co-operatives have not play much of a role, he claimed; that responsibility rests mainly in the hands of government. As such, agricultural monitoring needs an overhaul.
Another weakness in the livestock sector is the system for processing and distribution among local pig farms - Vietnam's pig surplus crisis at the end of 2016 was attributed to this factor.
In 2017 and 2018, in an effort to improve meat production, many companies invested in farming models which connected various parties and modern technologies, like MASAN’s new pig slaughterhouse and processing facility in Ha Nam province, which opened on December 23 with a capacity of 1.4 million pigs per year, Vietnam News Agency reported.
But, the technical requirements of these companies are challenges that many farmers have difficulty surmounting. Also, with the lack of modern farming facilities, a higher vulnerability to diseases is likely to occur. This problem has been addressed with a safe farming project implemented in several provinces - including Thai Binh, DSong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau - from 2016 to 2018.
Eventually, around 134 farms were declared free from epidemics, along with the formation of many working groups. In addition, about 21 types of animal farming models further bolster a preventive effort against diseases.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade want to improve pork exports and are working on facilitating trade with other countries, including exports of raw pork, Cuong said.
Furthermore, there should be a more integrated relationship between big companies and farmers, while also cutting down the number of small farms operated by one individual, said Nguyen Xuan Duong, acting director of the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The market also needed to be monitored more closely so that businesses, farmers and customers could be informed, he added.
Vietnam's animal husbandry exports in the first 11 months of 2018 amounted to around US$508 million, 12.9% higher than 2017, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In the first 10 months, poultry exports were valued at US$25.3 million, 2.5 times higher than last year, but exports of water buffalo, beef and pork dropped by around half.