18:13 | 18/03/2015 Trade
Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agrifood Gerry Ritz has said the Vietnamese market held great potential for the import of high-quality, flavourful Canadian beef.
"Canadian production and processing standards have been rigorously designed to ensure health and safety of our beef products. Our top priority is to make sure our customers always receive wholesome, top-quality beef,” Canadian Minister Ritz told a press conference in HCM City on March 17.
Ritz is leading an agricultural trade mission to Vietnam, the Republic of Korea and Japan to promote a variety of Canadian agricultural products, including safe, high-quality beef.
Last year, Canada's beef industry had total export value of over US$1.9 billion.
Asia has become one of its priority markets, with Vietnam ranked as a market with high potential, he said.
Jack Hextall, Chairman of Canada Beef, which is responsible for domestic and international beef and veal market development, said that Canada is a world leader in feed-grain production, including barley, wheat and corn.
Rob Meijer, President of Canada Beef, said initially Canada's organisation and businesses will work with the food services segment and retailers in Vietnam to promote products as well as study customers' tastes.
Canada is committed to serving the needs of the Vietnamese market and to supplying safe, high-quality food products, Ritz said.
The Animal Husbandry Association of Vietnam said the number of cows raised in Vietnam had fallen from 6.7 million in 2007 to 5.23 million heads last year.
Domestic cow production meets only 75-76% of local demand.
To satisfy demand, the country had to import a large volume of beef and cows from other countries, Nguyen Dang Vang, the Association's Chairman, said.
Cow and beef imports in recent years have increased strongly, with more than 250,000 live cows and 26,000 tonnes of beef and buffalo meat imported last year.
Demand for beef is expected to increase while there will be few changes in production since the country does not have advantageous conditions for raising cows on large-scale farms.
The country expects to import a similar volume of live cows and beef this year to satisfy domestic consumption.
The event was organised by the Canada Beef International Institute and the Embassy of Canada in Vietnam.