Demand for beef up in Vietnam hinh anh 1Imported beef in AEON Mall, Long Bien. Vietnam paid 410 million USD for imported beef in 2017 (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam paid 410 million USD for imported beef last year due to increasing demand, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The ministry’s Livestock Department reported that Vietnam imported 262,321 live cattle and nearly 42,000 tonnes of meat (mainly beef with bone) worth a total of 410 million USD.

Meanwhile, the nation imported more than 6,500 tonnes of pork worth a total of about 11.07 million USD, and more than 81,000 tonnes of poultry, valued at more than 75.7 million USD.

The department said imported meat was sold much cheaper than local produce. For example, United States and Australian beef cost from 100,000-500,000 VND per kilo. Indian beef ranged from 90,000-150,000 VND per kilo, while imported chicken prices ran from 35,000-60,000 VND per kilo.

Deputy director of the department, Tong Xuan Chinh, said Vietnam had an excess of pork. Production reached 29.1 million tonnes in 2016, causing the pork price crisis of 2017. The nation needs only about 27 million pigs to meet domestic demand, leaving a small volume for export.

In term of poultry, Vietnam raised more than 385 million heads in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 6.6 percent. This amounted to more than 1 million tonnes of meat and more than 10 billion eggs. Domestic poultry output has met local demand and the gap between imports and exports is not large.

Chinh said Vietnam seriously lacked red meat, mainly beef. The demand increased every year. The reasons related to huge changes in food consumption. People nowadays prefer beef to pork and chicken.

Therefore, in 2017, domestic demand for beef had a year-on-year increase of 4-5 percent to about 260,000 tonnes.

However, the local development of cattle grew at only 1.6 percent and the total output of beef increased only 3.6 percent. Domestic beef still meets 80 percent of domestic demand.

From 2014 to now, Vietnam has had to spend more than 300 million USD a year to import live cattle and beef.

With the uptrend in beef, Chinh said Vietnam must have a more suitable strategy to farm cattle.

In 2017, Vietnam exported nearly 40,720 tonnes of pork, earning 163.87 million USD; 22,600 tonnes of fresh milk and dairy products, earning 54.8 million USD; 37 million salted duck eggs (5.27 million USD), 86,600 tonnes of honey (144.46 million USD) and more than 278,200 tonnes of animal feed (106.48 million USD).-VNA