Vietnam switches to cattle breeding, poultry production to compensate pork shortage
Vietnam is ready to switch meat production from pork mainly to other animal protein such as beef and poultry in order to cover the pork shortage generated by a massive reduction in the national pig inventory after the ASF outbreaks.
Currently, beef consumption per capita in Vietnam is about 3 kilos but this can improve, according to Tong Xuan Chinh, deputy head of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Department of Livestock Production.
Still, domestic beef will have to compete against well know products from the US, Japan or Australia that already channeled in retail and in hospitality. Luxury restaurants in Vietnam often chose the Japanese Kobe or frozen American cattle meat for their premium beef menu.
For the fresh beef segment, cows are imported from Australia and then slaughtered before shipping to retail stores. For lower segments, frozen beef is an option for many industrial kitchens and restaurants in the country, according to a survey quoted by Vietnam News.
"Beef imported from Australia and the US is available in most supermarkets, retail stores, traditional markets, industrial kitchens and restaurants", said Chinh.
One solution identified by the officials is to encourage the cattle industry to invest in slaughter and processing facilities to compete against the imported products. "To compete with imported beef products, the cattle industry needs to build more concentrated slaughter and processing houses, thereby helping to lower production costs," explained Nguyen Quoc Toản, head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's agricultural product processing and market development department.
In the last 12 months, Vietnam has imported 19,000 head of Australian feeder cattle, according to Meat and Livestock Australia. Since February, when the first African Swine Fever outbreak was reported in the country, there have been more than 2.5 million pigs culled due to the disease. Pork is the main animal protein consumed in Vietnam although the poultry sector is constantly expanding in this market thanks to joint ventures initiated with foreign partners.
(Photo source: Flickr/ILRI)