Vietnam rice export runs behind animal feed import

Vietnam earned US$2.95 billion from rice export but spent US$4 billion to import animal feed and materials for feed production in 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Rice export earnings are lower than animal feed import expenses . Workers load rice bags for exports in the photo of SGGP

The import cost US$375 million in the first two months this year, an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period last year. Of the total, there were seven times in volume at 1.26 million tons of corn worth US$326 million. Ninety percent of the imports came from Brazil and Thailand.
Rice export reached 700,000 tons yielding US$303 million in the first two months this year.

Vietnam now consumes 12.5 million tons of animal feed but must import up to 9 million tons of materials per year, said Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Feed Association. The dependence of import is a consequence of the flawed agricultural policy over the last 20 years.

Animal feed occupies 70 percent in costs of breeding products, said Nguyen Xuan Duong, deputy head of the Livestock Department.

Experts say it is wasteful for Vietnam to export cassava and rice with low prices and import corn and soybean with high prices.

Corn growing area is insufficient to meet demand for animal feed production (Photo: SGGP)

The agricultural industry should use part of rice for breeding instead of trying to export as much as possible, said Professor Nguyen Lan Dung. Vietnam spends the most on animal feed in the world.

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 Livestock Department. Materials for the compounds and premixes are available in the country even though we do not produce it.

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 tons per hectare. The soybean farms occupy about 100,000 hectares with productivity of 1.2 tons per hectare.

By Van Phuc – Translated by Hai Mien

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