Experts have warned that Vietnamese poultry producers will lose their market to regional and international rivals if they don’t improve their productivity and cut costs.
Nguyen Thanh Son, chairman of the Vietnam Poultry Association, says that local chicken production grew 9.3 percent per year between 2003 and 2012, but Vietnamese productivity is lower.
In 2010, it took local large farms 49 days to raise a 2.2-kilogram chicken, and much longer for small farms. The worldwide average is 37-41 days, and is expected to be shortened by 2020.
It also costs more to raise chickens in Vietnam, because a large part of breeds, veterinary drugs and animal feed are imported. This make Vietnam’s chicken products 1.5 to 2 times higher than the global average.
Vietnam spent US$4 billion to import animal feed and materials for feed production in 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Vietnam spends the most on animal feed in the world. The country spent US$375 million on feed imports in the first two months of 2014, an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2013. Ninety percent of the imports came from Brazil and Thailand, according to a report.
Vietnam consumes 12.5 million tons of animal feed but must import up to 9 million tons of materials per year, said Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Feed Association.