Hoang Thanh Van, head of the Animal Breeding Department, tells Kinh Te and Do Thi (Economy and City) newspaper about opportunities and problems the sector will face when Viet Nam joins the TPP.
Viet Nam will most likely participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year. Could you tell us about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Viet Nam's animal-breeding sector?
Taking part in the TPP will give the sector a chance to use new technologies, new breeds, new products and a new wave of investment. If it gets the chance, the animal-breeding sector will soon integrate into the world market.
However, the sector will face many challenges during the time of integration. The price, quality and design of Vietnamese products aren't very competitive with the same products made in other countries.
First, high price is a key obstacle to competing in the world market.
Second, our post-harvest and preservation technologies are outdated. At present, there is no large-scale plant for processing meat, egg and milk products throughout the country. Therefore, products have been meagre.
Third, the origin of products and food safety are still big challenges.
Fourth, Vietnamese businesses' experiences in the market are still modest. At present, only milk products are sold professionally. Other products are hit-or-miss.
What is the biggest concern among the above-mentioned challenges?
The weakest part of Viet Nam's animal-breeding sector is the high prices. At present, we have many farms as big as other countries' in the region. But Vietnamese products have to bear the burden of many expenses before reaching consumers.
Currently, breeding production is divided into many segments. In each segment, producers have to calculate profit. Therefore, the products' prices are about 18 to 20 per cent higher in the market.
What measures should the sector implement to utilise the opportunities created by the TPP?
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development approved a project on restructuring the animal-breeding sector for sustainable development and added-value improvement.
The restructuring has helped the sector increase the quantity of animal herds and products. More technology has been used in breeding. Notably, big business groups such as Vingroup, Hoang Anh Gia Lai and TH have taken part into the sector.
Businesses from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Germany, Russia, South Korea and Uruguay have shown interest in investing in Viet Nam's animal-breeding sector.
To take advantage of the TPP, the restructuring should be expanded. It should be adjusted to fit the specifications of different areas. The breeding department will balance animal breeding patterns among chickens, pigs and cows so they suit the market's demands.
In the future, the sector must focus on breeds and product quality.
As you said, many foreign businesses are intending to invest in the country's animal-breeding sector. Do you think breeding households can survive in this new, competitive arena?
At present, there are some enterprises investing in raising dairy cows, breeds and the feeding process.
Taking part in the international market requires local businesses to continuously adapt and develop in order to survive.
What policies are needed to attract more investment in the sector?
The Government has issued a decree on encouraging businesses to invest in agriculture and rural development. However, the policy's implementation is still slow, so it's hard for businesses to get the incentives.
In my opinion, incentive policies should be designed by provincial agriculture and rural development sectors and then be submitted to people's committees for approval. This will help businesses approach the policies more easily.
Besides, technology and land lease incentives should be more transparent.
Ha Noi is a locality with big livestock and poultry herds. What targets do you think the city should focus on to meet the demands of international integration?
Ha Noi should focus on three main targets.
First, the city should invest in processing and preserving breeding products. The municipal authority should make incentive policies to attract investment from domestic and foreign businesses.
Second, investment in agricultural technology is very important to increase the added value of products. It's hard to develop if we continue breeding in the traditional way. This is because living, working and using land in Ha Noi is more expensive than in other areas.
Third, the city should attract investment in breed production to provide it to other provinces. — VNS