Vietnam imported 70% of its beef this year, with domestic beef accounting for only 30% of the market.
Tong Xuan Chinh, deputy head of the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Vietnam imported 517,904 buffalos and cows for meat slaughtering (91.5% of which were cows) in the first 11 months of this year, worth more than US$556 million.
In the same period, the country spent more than US$295 million for 80,124 tonnes of frozen beef and buffalo meat.
For the chilled meat segment, the import volume was limited. More than 1,546 tonnes of chilled meat were imported from 10 countries in the first 11 months of the year, worth US$15.7 million.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), beef consumption in Vietnam in the 2017-2019 period averaged 9.2 kilos per person per year.
However, domestic beef production met only 30% of demand.
In 2020, Vietnam had 6.24 million cows, equivalent to 372,500 tonnes of meat, a year-on-year increase of 4.8%, Chinh said.
Thanks to new technologies and support from the government, the industry is set to achieve an output of 600,000 tonnes of cattle meat, mainly beef, by 2030.
The country also has many cattle farms, with a capacity of up to thousands of heads, located in Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Ha Tinh, Gia Lai, Dong Nai, and Tay Ninh.
To ensure animal welfare, Vietnamese firms fatten imported Australian cows and sell to domestic slaughterhouses in line with the exporter supply chain assurance system (EVAS).
Fifty businesses and 90 slaughterhouses in Vietnam have been certified by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.