Vietnamese Switch to Beef

VIET NAM - Viet Nam paid US$410 million for imported beef last year due to increasing demand, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
calendar icon 17 January 2018
clock icon 2 minute read

According to Viet Nam News, the ministry’s Livestock Department reported that Viet Nam imported 262,321 live cattle and nearly 42,000 tonnes of meat (mainly beef with bone) worth a total of $410 million, about VND9.5 trillion.

Meanwhile, the nation imported more than 6,500 tonnes of pork worth a total of about $11.07 million, and more than 81,000 tonnes of poultry, valued at more than $75.7 million.

The department said imported meat was sold much cheaper than local produce. For example, United States and Australian beef cost from VND100,000-500,000 per kilo. Indian beef ranged from VND90,000-150,000 per kilo, while imported chicken prices ran from VND35,000-60,000 kilo.

Deputy Director of the department, Tong Xuan Chinh, said Viet Nam had an excess of pork. Production reached 29.1 million tonnes in 2016, causing the pork price crisis of 2017. The nation needs only about 27 million pigs to meet domestic demand, leaving a small volume for export.

In term of poultry, Viet Nam raised more than 385 million heads in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 6.6 per cent. This amounted to more than one million tonnes of meat and more than 10 billion eggs. Domestic poultry output has met local demand and the gap between imports and exports is not large.

Mr Chinh said Viet Nam seriously lacked red meat, mainly beef. The demand increased every year. The reasons related to huge changes in food consumption. People nowadays prefer beef to pork and chicken.

Therefore, in 2017, domestic demand for beef had a year-on-year increase of 4-5 per cent to about 260,000 tonnes.

However, the local development of cattle grew at only 1.6 per cent and the total output of beef increased only 3.6 per cent. Domestic beef still meets 80 per cent of domestic demand.

From 2014 to now, Viet Nam has had to spend more than $300 million a year to import live cattle and beef.

With the uptrend in beef, Mr Chinh said Viet Nam must have a more suitable strategy to farm cattle.

In 2017, Viet Nam exported nearly 40,720 tonnes of pork, earning $163.87 million; 22,600 tonnes of fresh milk and dairy products, earning $54.8 million; 37 million salted duck eggs ($5.27 million), 86,600 tonnes of honey ($144.46 million) and more than 278,200 tonnes of animal feed ($106.48 million).

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