08:46 | 01/08/2017 Society
(VEN) - Development of livestock value chains is hindered by high production costs, inadequate regulation of investment and loose linkages between units. Consumer habits also make it difficult to develop livestock production and supply chains.
A workshop on the results of a study to review institutional barriers to agricultural trade in the domestic market, focusing on two products of pork and chicken, was held by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD). Tran Thi Thanh Nhan from the IPSARD said there are too many barriers hindering the building of closed production chains for the livestock sector.
Domestic meat production is growing faster than consumer demand. In 2016, meat consumption grew 3.84 percent and two percent during the 2010-2016 period. Imports of livestock products, on the other hand, grew much more. In the first 11 months of 2016, pork imports reached 9,315 tonnes, an increase of 13.9 percent compared to a year ago, a clear indication that Vietnamese consumers prefer imported products over domestic ones.
And while consumption was barely growing and imports were increasing, domestic meat production nonetheless surged 66.6 percent (three million tonnes in 2007 to five million tonnes in 2016).
Prices of livestock products in the domestic market are higher than those in foreign countries. Vietnam’s pork, for example, goes for US$2.08 per kg, compared to US$1.41 per kg in the United States. Domestic beef fetches US$2.53 per kg, while in Australia it is sold for US$1.77 per kg.
Speaking at the workshop, Nhan explained the problems faced by the livestock sector. First, enterprises seeking an investment certificate for concentrated breeding and slaughtering areas must go through eight steps, a time-consuming and money-wasting procedure. Many regulations on business conditions of production, processing and trading facilities create additional barriers for enterprises.
The second drawback she mentioned is regulations on slaughtering management in the livestock sector. Support policies for the development of slaughterhouses have proven overlapping and inefficient. In addition, these policies have not been consistent with development planning of new rural areas, she said.
Regulations on quarantine and product quality control are also a hindrance. Specifically, Circular 24/2013/TT-BYT stipulates the maximum limit of veterinary medicine residues in food for 59 pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the national technical standards, such as QCVN 01-10: 2009/BNNPTNT and QCVN 01-12:2009/BNNPTNT, only mention 19 antibiotics and pharmaceuticals for chickens and nine types for pigs, making it hard for enterprises to reconcile the differences.
Another issue raised at the workshop is quarantine fees, which are the same for small and large consignments, creating difficulties for small enterprises to compete. In addition, technical standards and barriers for imported meat remain weak, leading to unequal competition between domestically produced and imported products.
Changing consumer habits
Ta Van Tuong, director of the Hanoi Center for Livestock Development, said some of the problems could be resolved by closed production chains to reduce intermediary stages. In addition, land planning and use should also be entrusted to enterprises.
Ta Van Tuong also said the establishment of production and supply chains will help reduce product prices. However, consumer habits must change or else enterprises will continue to encounter difficulties. “In foreign countries, meat must be cooled for three days to be marketed. However, Vietnam’s livestock sector has not yet come up with specific criteria for products. Specific regulations and close supervision of the implementation process will help change consumer habits and develop livestock production and supply chains,” Tuong said.
Dao Quang Vinh, general director of the Vinh Anh Food Joint Stock Company, says food safety and hygiene are indispensable requirements. However, about 80 percent of livestock in Hanoi are slaughtered manually. Consumers are accustomed to buying hot meat, while scientists have studied the issue and concluded that this habit is unsafe. Information must be disseminated to the public to change consumer habits.