Vietnam ’s livestock industry is overly dependent on imported animal feed. At present, 50-60 percent of the raw materials for processing animal feed like maize and soybeans are imports, Deputy Director of the Department of Crops Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Tran Xuan Dinh was quoted by the Vietnam Economic News as saying.

Last year, the country spent 3 billion USD on imported animal feed and another 1 billion USD on raw materials including maize, soybeans and wheat for animal feed. In 2013, the country imported 1.4 million tonnes of soybeans, worth 834 million USD; 2.26 million tonnes of maize, worth 690 million USD ; and 1.7 million tonnes of wheat, worth 584 million USD, which was a significant increase from 2012.

In the first five months of this year, Vietnam imported more than two million tonnes of maize, worth 500 million USD. Tran Xuan Dinh pointed out the opportunity in cultivating maize crop to meet the domestic animal feed material market, a move which would also bring higher incomes to farmers.

Over the last 10 years, maize cultivation areas, yield and output in maize production both have continuously increased. About 1.2 million ha is currently used for the crop with productivity of 445 kilos per ha and an annual output increase on average by 170,000 tonnes. Northern provinces have shifted 75,500 ha of rice cultivation areas to maize cultivation areas. According to MARD’s plans, by 2015, 120,000 out of the 418,000ha of rice growing areas all over the country will be shifted to grow corn.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat urged relevant agencies to implement appropriate solutions so that corn growers could earn higher incomes than other crops and reduce the corn productivity gap between Vietnam and other ASEAN countries.-VNA