March 14, 2014
Vietnam spends US$4 billion on animal feed imports
Vietnam spent US$4 billion to import animal feed and materials for feed production in 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sai Gon Giai Phong reports.
The imports cost US$375 million in the first two months this year, an increase of 4.7% over the same period last year. Of the total animal feed imports, there was seven times in volume (1.26 million tonnes) of corn worth US$326 million. 90% of the imports came from Brazil and Thailand.
Vietnam now consumes 12.5 million tonnes of animal feed but must import up to nine million tonnes of materials per year, said Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Feed Association. The dependence on imports is a consequence of the flawed agricultural policy over the last 20 years. Vietnam spends the most on animal feed in the world.
Animal feed occupies 70% in costs of breeding products, said Nguyen Xuan Duong, deputy head of the livestock department.
There are high-energy feeds like corn and soybeans or regular feeds like compound feeds and premixes, said Nguyen Van Trong, deputy head of the husbandry department. Materials for the compounds and premixes are available in Vietnam even though the country does not produce them.
Corn and soybean growing areas are insufficient to meet demand for animal feed production, according to the department of crop production.
The country has one million hectares of corn plants with average productivity of four tonnes per hectare. The soybean farms occupy about 100,000 hectares with productivity of 1.2 tonnes per hectare.