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Cheap Imports Have Put Farmers out of Business

by 5m Editor
22 September 2008, at 9:28am

VIET NAM - Rapidly rising imports of frozen meat and other animal products have hit the domestic livestock industry hard.

Almost one million farmers have been pushed out of business so far, according to official sources. This has prompted calls from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) for import duties as per WTO commitments, and for stricter policies on meat imports.

During the first eight months of the year, Viet Nam imported 103,000 tonnes of frozen meat, amounting to 30 per cent of the nationwide output estimate of 400,000 tonnes this year, according to the Livestock Breeding Department (LBD).

It also marks a trebling of the imports for the same period last year, posing severe threat to the domestic livestock industry, with breeders having to sell at lower than production costs to compete with imports, says Le Ba Lich, chairman of Viet Nam Association of Animal Feed.

In the first seven months, domestic livestock exports had reached US$80.62 million while import of meat and poultry products soared to $321.8 million.

The price of imported chicken at the port, inclusive of tax, is just VND14,000 ($0.88) per kilo - less than half the wholesale cost of the domestic fowl, Mr Lich said.

Domestic livestock breeders are suffering losses of VND3,000-5,000 per kilo of chicken and VND1 million (US$63) per pig while competing with imports.

The mass import of lower-priced meat and poultry products like eggs, milk, cream and whey powder have seen about a million livestock farmers lose their businesses, the LBD says.

Yet, Viet Nam has never imposed anti-dumping taxes on imported meat, says Bui Ba Bong, deputy head of MARD.

MARD has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to consider favourably its proposal to tighten control over import of frozen meat.

Hoang Kim Giao, head of LBD, also says Viet Nam must improve its livestock quality by importing good breeds and speeding up the transfer of advanced breeding techniques to boost productivity and lower production costs.

Further Reading

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5m Editor