Vietnam’s taste for beef soars, but cattle industry can’t find its feet

Vietnam’s cattle industry is failing to meet the country’s increasing demand for beef, forcing local consumers to turn to imported products. Last year, the country imported more than 262,300 live cattle, and nearly 42,000 tons of beef and buffalo meat, valued at more than $410 million, according to the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Explaining the reason for the imports, vice head of the department Tong Xuan Chinh said Vietnamese people’s diets have changed drastically in recent years, and they’re now eating more beef and buffalo meat. Average consumption has doubled to 5-6 kilograms of beef and buffalo meat per year in the past decade, but the cattle industry has been unable to keep up with the pace. Local supplies of beef and buffalo meat only meet 80 percent of the current demand. “Imports of beef and buffalo meat are unavoidable due to limited local supplies,” said chairman of the Vietnam Animal Husbandry Association Nguyen Dang Vang. “We don’t have the policies needed to develop the cattle industry.” Imported beef, mainly from Australia and the U.S., is available in air conditioned supermarkets, modern food stores and local markets, and some restaurants are also using imported beef in their dishes. Many local consumers favor imported products thanks to their reasonable prices and food safety concerns that have plagued the Vietnamese food market in recent years. Beef imported from Australia and the U.S. costs from VND100.000-500.000 ($4.4-22.02) per kilogram, around the same price as local products…. [Read full story]


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