Despite expanded production, Vietnam continues to rely heavily on imported milk amid rising local demand.
Vietnam’s milk production grew by an estimated 26.6 percent annually between 2001 and 2014, according to Nguyen Dang Vang, chairman of the Vietnam Animal Husbandry Association who made his comments during a recent conference on dairy product development.
Local milk production was estimated at 456,400 tons in 2013, meeting only 28 percent of local demand for the product, he said. Per capita milk consumption was estimated at 18 liters, including 5.1 liters of fresh milk last year.
The country spent nearly US$1 billion on importing milk last year, up from $462 million in 2007. Between January and August, the country imported dairy products worth $734 million.
To meet local demand, and expand exports, some milk producers have poured investment into expanding production. Milk producer Vinamilk invested VND2.4 trillion ($114.3 million) into the construction of a processing plant with an annual capacity of 400 million liters in the southern Binh Duong Province.
The country has also focused on raising more milk cows to increase the supply of milk. Vietnam is now home to more than 200,000 dairy cows -- a 67 percent jump in its 2010 herd.
However, production has lagged far behind rising demand - -a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years.
Vietnam is expected to spend some $3.6 billion importing dairy products by 2045, Vang said.