Opening door for export of livestock products
Packing chicken products for consumer market in Ho Chi Minh City. (Credit: VNA)
The livestock export sector has recorded optimistic signals in the past two months, amidst the bleak context of the domestic husbandry industry.
In early September, the poultry sector exported the first consignment of chicken (approx. 300-400 tonnes) to the Japanese market; until the end of the year, pork products are expected to receive a "visa" into the fastidious market in the Netherlands, with approximately 10,000 tonnes per year.
The export of chickens leading the way for pigs to enter into fastidious markets marks a significant milestone for the domestic livestock sector. However, in a comprehensive manner, these figures remain too small for a country with a large livestock potential such as Vietnam, with total pig heads of 27.5-28 million a year, more than 300 million poultries and 500,000 dairy cows.
Moreover, each year, agro-forestry and fishery export turnover reaches more than US$30 billion, of which ten main items gain a value of over US$1 billion. However, the products of the livestock sector only make up a negligible proportion, especially live weight pigs and products processed from pork, which for many years have not made any breakthroughs.
Vietnam has just stopped exporting live weight pigs to the Chinese market through border routes, while exporting suckling pigs and non-fully-grown pigs to Hong Kong (China) and Malaysia via official channels, with an estimated output of 20,000 tonnes per year.
The cause leading to no way out for pork products in both domestic and export markets is that Vietnam has just ensured the very first stage of the whole chain that is production organisation, while processing and market activities have not been concerned yet. The situation led to difficult consumption in the domestic market, while exports are just “dripping” in small volume and value.
However, from the lesson of chicken being exported to the fastidious Japanese market, Vietnam’s husbandry industry has the right to hope that pork will also make breakthrough.
It is necessary to reorganise this sector under the chain link model at all levels, in which, the large scale production by enterprises must be concentrated to exporting pork, while the medium and small scale production ensures the supply to the domestic market. It is also important to develop specialty pigs associated with organic livestock in order to meet the needs of demanding consumers who require high quality products.
In addition, investment should be paid in terms of livestock area planning and the veterinary service from the central to grassroots levels, ensuring the fulfillment of the national programmes on epidemics prevention and combat, especially for dangerous animal diseases, such as foot-mouth disease and pork cholera, as these diseases are under very strict quarantine subjects by foreign markets.
Furthermore, the livestock sector should closely coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as well as the trade representative offices of Vietnam in foreign countries, in order to promote contacts and exchanges between Vietnam and the markets in huge need, such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and the European Union to grasp the demand, promote its products and timely resolve any technical barriers and disputes arising in trading activities with each importing country.
Hopefully, synchronous solutions would help, not only with regards to chickens and pigs, but many other products in Vietnam’s breeding industry to sustainably develop both the domestic and foreign markets, contributing to improving the status and image of Vietnamese agricultural products within the international community.
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