10:19 | 11/10/2016 Economy- Society
Economists and experts warn that Vietnam should restructure its farming industry, making it less rice-oriented and focusing more on producing breeding materials in order to reduce its dependence on imported animal feed.
Farmers in Quang Ngai province are actively shifting from rice to corn-growing in some areas - Photo: daidoanket
According to Head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plantation Department Ma Quang Trung, Vietnam records a rice surplus of approximately seven million tonnes each year, but needs to import a large quantity of corn for animal feed due to its failure to meet domestic demand. Currently, the price of Vietnamese corn is higher than that of imported corn. Thus, the most important tasks involve effectively converting rice farming to corn while reducing the cost of corn, Trung said.
According to the latest ministry statistics, Vietnam imported roughly 2.1 billion USD worth of animal feed and raw materials, including corn and soybean, over the past eight months, down 6.2 percent from the same period a year ago.
Most of the animal feed and raw materials were imported from Argentina, the US and China, according to the data.
To deal with the issue, the chairman of Vietnam Animal Feed Association Le Ba Lich has called for State financial assistance to help farmers convert from rice to corn crops, as well as help in technical aspects of cultivation.
He also emphasized the importance of developing a sufficient irrigation system to raise domestic corn productivity, which stood at only only 4-5 tonnes per hectare, much lower than 9-10 tonnes in other countries.
The State should also give incentives to enterprises investing in animal feed production, he added.
The ministry has set a goal of turning 668,000 hectares of rice-growing land into corn-growing land in northern mountainous provinces within five years.
Earlier this year, the Government decided to provide farmers shifting from rice growing to corn with up to 3 million VND per hectare to buy seeds./.