Nguyễn Văn Trọng, deputy director of the Livestock Breeding General Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, talks to Việt Nam Agriculture newspaper about the sector's achievements in 2019
What achievements did Việt Nam make in livestock breeding in 2019?
2019 was a successful year for the Vietnamese livestock sector, with an increase of 16.5 per cent in poultry and 14 percent in eggs produced. Though the number of cows and buffalos dropped slightly, their meat products increased by 4.2 percent and 3.2 per cent, respectively.
In 2019, Việt Nam also noted strong developments in the poultry sector, particularly white feathered chickens whose breeding life cycle takes just 35 days. After the African swine fever outbreak, many farming households immediately switched to raising chickens. All in all, I can say that 2019 was a good year for Vietnamese livestock farmers.
How is the livestock sector handling the shortage of mature chickens due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
For white feathered chickens, we have to import mature adults. Việt Nam has nearly 500 million poultry birds, of which we have over 100 million white feathered chickens. Yet, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, no international flights have been allowed to land at Vietnamese airports. This has become a big problem for the country as 100 per cent of mature adult chickens are imported from abroad by air.
We hope air cargo operations will resume soon so we can import more adult chickens. However, to ensure a steady supply of meat to cater for people’s needs, the MARD has asked farming households to increase their flocks to meet the market demand.
Do you think COVID-19 will have negative impacts on people’s consumption of poultry?
In the past few weeks, the price of poultry has gone up slightly, but it has not had a strong impact on consumer consumption as we have enough to meet the market demand,
According to our plan, in 2020 we will cap the development of poultry production to about 11 per cent of the total meat consumption in Việt Nam.
Why did Việt Nam import a large volume of chickens last year?
Việt Nam’s poultry imports and exports have followed global market developments. There is no quota restriction on the amount of chickens imported to Việt Nam, and the meat is considered only a sub-product of the Vietnamese diet.
According to statistics, up to 60 per cent of imported chicken products are drumsticks, wings and feet.
In my opinion, such a high volume of imported chicken products doesn’t have negative impacts on the industry in Việt Nam. According to statistics, the record for Việt Nam’s chicken product imports is between 10-15 per cent of consumption.
Meanwhile, Việt Nam also exports chickens to other countries, including Japan and the US, and Vietnamese chicken products have been highly appreciated by foreign clients._VNS