Vietnam’s milk output growing while challenges loom

Milking A Cow - Matthew Maaskant - FreeImagesLocal dairy farmers will be impacted by free trade deals that are expected to come into effect soon. (Image source: Matthew Maaskant/FreeImages)Vietnam expects to produce a total volume of 2.6bn litres fresh milk by 2020, according to the country’s Dairy Association

Over the past five years, the number of cowherds has increased by 14 per cent each year and the country now has about 70 enterprises producing and processing milk products.
There are a total of about 230,000 cows being reared by 19,000 households and the milk output for 2015 is expected to be about 1.9bn litres.

According to estimates made by the Ministry of Industry and Trade under a plan for development of the dairy industry, average per capita consumption of fresh milk will reach 21 litres this year, 27 litres in 2020 and 34 litres in 2025.

But this dual increase in production and consumption is not certain to benefit local dairy farmers. With the country joining free trade agreements in the near future, the local dairy industry would face numerous challenges in production and in doing business due to the advantages in import tariffs for imported milk material and products to Vietnam.

The Livestock Department, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the free trade deals will bring tariffs down to low levels, making the price of imported milk products even lesser and prompting local enterprises to increase milk imports. That, in turn, could lead to a reduction in the price at which milk is being purchased from local farmers.

Hoang Thanh Van, director of the Livestock Department said, “In the future, when free trade deals come into effect, farmers feeding cows should set up their cooperatives to sign contracts with milk enterprises on milk consumption to ensure their interests. Meanwhile, the livestock industry would have to improve the breed of cows by importing superior breeds from foreign countries, including Australia and the Netherlands.”

The Vietnam Dairy Association said the dairy industry should apply technologies to develop the farms that feed cows on a large scale. Additionally, farmers should also modernise the methods used for the feeding of cows.

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