Vietnam has the potential to become the world's leading exporter of cattle feed in the near future, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.

This year, for the first time, animal feed has been listed as a leading export item by the customs department, which said that by the middle of last month exports had been worth nearly 230 million USD.

The exports went to 13 countries, mostly in Asia, the ministry said.

China was the largest market with imports of more than 62 million USD, followed by Cambodia (nearly 46 million USD), Malaysia (26 million USD), Japan (20 million USD), the Republic of Korea (10 million USD), and India (9 million USD), the customs agency said.

The US bought nearly 800,000 USD worth, it said.

Many Vietnamese exporters have regular orders from key export markets, it added.

Ho Sau, director of Viet Nong Lam Ltd Company, said his company produces cattle feed from sweet corn and other materials for export to the Republic of Korea and Japan.

Its products are well accepted in the two markets and it gets orders for thousands of tonnes from them every month, he said.

Cambodia is seen as a potential importer, the ministry said.

Pham Duc Binh, Deputy Chairman of the Cattle Feed Association, said animal husbandry is developing in Cambodia but its production of animal feed remains low, which provides Vietnam an opportunity.

Cambodia mostly imports feed for ducks and pigs.

Some Vietnamese businesses have also built factories to produce animal feed there to take advantage of cheap raw materials like rice bran, sweet corn, and cassava.

Nguyen Van Nhat, Deputy General Director of Vietnamese-French Cattle Feed Join-Stock Company (Proconco), said the company's factory in Cambodia produces more than 30,000 tonnes of animal feed a year.

C.P. Vietnam Livestock Breeding Join-Stock Company has also built factories in Cambodia and Laos.-VNA