Vietnam has gradually restructured its livestock industry towards turning out high quality products with high added value to ensure sustainable development.

The assessment was confirmed by Director of the Livestock Production Department Hoang Kim Giao, who added that the number of dairy cows rose by more than 10 percent on average in the past five years, reaching 167,000 heads last year.

Speaking at a seminar on the newest and most innovative advances in genetics and nutrition for dairy cows and beef cattle in Ho Chi Minh City on April 9, he revealed that the country’s total milk output last year topped 382,000 tonnes, up over 10 percent from 2011.

The quality of the breeding cows is the decisive factor in animal breeding, he said, adding that most farmers want cows that are suitable to their ecological conditions and have high productivity.

Many measures, including artificial insemination, exist to create good quality breeders. Artificial insemination is the most effective tools available to cattle producers to improve productivity and profitability of their cattle operations, he said.

According to Ho Mong Hai, an expert at the Livestock Production Department, the country currently lacks both facilities and human resources to conduct research on animal breeders.

“The country has imported a large amount of high-quality diary cow and beef-cattle gene sources to meet local demand,” he said.

Because of this, the local industry needs to regularly follow the latest advances in genetics that allow high productivity. This can reduce production costs and raise competitiveness, he said.

Frank Joseph, a representative form the US Department of Agriculture, said demand for milk and higher-quality meat is increasing in Vietnam .

This creates opportunities for the country to further develop higher quality dairy cows and beef cattle, he said, adding that producers must acquire breeding expertise and the latest innovative technologies.

At the seminar, two US experts spoke about semen technology, the newest reproductive technology for the beef industry, and management practices to increase the conception rate in artificial insemination programmes.

The event, organised by the Livestock Production Department and the Asia-Pacific Dairy Cattle Co Ltd, was attended by more than 100 delegates, including animal health officials, scientists and representatives form enterprises.-VNA