Animal feed industry overly dependent on imports

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Vietnam doesn't have a proper plan for developing its animal feed industry, leading to growing dependence on imported products that can be made at home, an industry official says. 

Some materials for animal feed production like minerals, vitamins and coloring ingredients need to be imported as they can't be produced in the country, said Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association.

"But huge imports of other products mean the country lacks a plan to develop the industry," he said.

According to the association, Vietnam is completely dependent on imports of soybean meal, worth around US$1 billion every year. Local animal feed producers also import around 1 million tons of corn and 2.5-3 million tons of mash a year.

Vietnam's imports of animal feed products and materials rose 133.2 percent in the first quarter this year to a record $613 million, official statistics show.

Pham Hong Lien, an expert with agricultural research firm Agromonitor, said most ingredients needed to make animal feed must be imported.

"Local supply of materials (for animal feed production) is not only limited but unstable as well," she said.

Hoang Kim Giao, head of the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said local supply has failed to keep pace with the growth of the husbandry sector and the country will continue to depend on imported products for the next ten years at least.

"Demand for animal feed will expand to 15 million tons in 2020 and half of all materials needed will have to be imported," he said.

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