VietNamNet Bridge – If Vietnam expands its maize and soybean growing area, this would benefit farmers, who can be sure they can sell products, and animal feed enterprises which don’t have to import materials any more.
Feed producers thirsty for materials
Being an agriculture country, Vietnam lacks materials for making animal feed. Pham Duc Binh, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association blamed the short supply on the unreasonable agriculture production development policies.
The problem, according to Binh, does not lie in the low capability of the domestic agriculture production, but on the unreasonable decisions about what plants to grow. Animal feed producers have been complaining over the last many years about the lack of materials.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development still decided to scale down the maize and soybean growing area, which has made feed producers more and more reliant on imports.
Also according to Binh, if animal feed producers can seek domestic material sources, they would not have to import materials any more, which would allow them to cut down expenses (VND1,000 per kilo for transportation cost, 5 percent of the import tax). If so, they would be able to make products at a lower cost, thus helping develop the livestock industry.
For the last many years, growing rice has always been in the focus of the agricultural production. Rice has been grown even in the localities with unfavorable soil conditions, which brings low yield. The State’s policies on agricultural expansion have been targeting the rice growing, while very few preferences have been offered to the growing of other kinds of plants.
“Why do the farmers in the central region and Central Highlands, where water is seriously lacking, still grow rice? Why don’t they grow maize which can bring higher profits?” Binh said.
Nguyen Huu Hieu, a senior executive of the Dong Nam Food Industry Company, noted that the biggest problem of the animal feed production is the low productivity of the main materials such as maize and soybean.
In the US, one hectare of maize growing area can bring 20 tons of products, while Vietnamese farmers can earn 5 tons only. Meanwhile, with the small growing areas which are located in different places, it has been very difficult for enterprises to collect and carry products.
Maize and soybean will be sold out
Replying to the farmers’ worry about the consumption of maize and soybean, Binh affirmed that no need to worry about the sale, because the production capacity of domestic animal feed factories is big enough to consume all the products.
“The maize drying factories of animal feed companies have been left idle because of the lack of material,” Binh said.
Nguyen Thi Le Hong, Chair of Proconco, a feed producer, also said she would prefer buying domestic maize to imports, because domestic products have higher quality.
Regarding the prices, feed producers said the Vietnamese maize prices are very competitive. Meanwhile, the soybean prices are always higher by VND2,000-3,000 per kilo than the world’s price.
Domestic soybean, for example, is now priced at VND15,000 per kilo, while the import product is sold at VND13,000 per kilo.
However, the domestic prices are believed to decrease if farmers make production in large scale. If so, animal feed would buy soybean from domestic sources instead of imports.