Vietnam spent 618 million USD to import animal feed in the first four months of this year, down 19.3 percent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Pham Duc Binh, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association, attributed the lower import value to decreasing prices of imported fodder and more abundant supply of products on the local market.

"Lower import prices stem from the reduced prices of raw materials for fodder. The materials include corn, cereal grains, soy-beans and cassava, among others," he said.

In addition, it was time for the harvest of cereal grains, potatoes, wheat and winter-spring rice crops. With the lower prices of paddy, many enterprises had selected paddy for fodder. Thus, the prices of final products also decreased, he said.

The great dependence on raw material imports for fodder has made final product prices in Vietnam 10-15 percent higher than in Thailand and China , Binh added.

At the same time, supply of fodder on the local market is not enough to satisfy local demand. Le Ba Lich, chairman of the association, said: " Vietnam has to import 35 percent in volume and 45 percent in value out of the total demand of the local market."

Lich attributed the dependence on imported materials to the fact that Vietnam still lacks a master plan on land for material plantations.

He added that cassava is essential in feed processing and that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should map out specific plans for cassava plantations so as to meet local market demand as well as support a decrease in import taxes.

Last year, Vietnam imported 8.9 million tonnes of raw materials for feed, totalling 3.7 billion USD. This volume accounted for up to 62 percent of total demand.-VNA