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Livestock Businesses in Need of More Support

by 5m Editor
30 November 2009, at 8:44am

VIET NAM - Although the domestic livestock industry has seen significant developments, many businesses demand a tighter control over the import of animal products and more assistance from the state to overcome difficulties caused by meat imports.

At a recent seminar on safe pig breeding which attracted over 200 businesses, most of them expressed worries about the increasing amount of meat imported into Viet Nam at a cheaper price than domestic products. According to VOVNews, they were particularly concerned about products of unclear origin, unclean products and those improperly-labeled without expiry date.

The amount of imported frozen meat has kept rising over the past 3 years, according to the Veterinary Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In the first seven months of 2009, Vietnam re-exported 142,075 tonnes of poultry products which had not complied with quarantine regulations.

In fact, as a member of WTO in the process of building a market economy, Viet Nam cannot ban imports, said Dr Phung Quoc Quang, director of the National Centre for Agriculture and Fishery Encouragement.

He suggested that the country tighten control of meat imports.

Other officials explained it was due to loop-holes in policy that many businesses had taken advantage the situation to sell their products before they were granted a quarantine certificate.

Some argued that fresh food imports should not be cleared through customs without being quarantined and only businesses meeting the requirements would be allowed to import meat. Any products failing to meet food hygiene and safety standards should be reported to the exporting country in question, either destroyed or re-exported.

According to Dr Quang, although the state has adopted preferential policies on land-use taxes, interest rates, breeding and vaccinations, livestock businesses still find it difficult to access aid due to snags in the procedures.

Le Duc Nhi, director of a breeding business in Ha Tinh, said that one of the factors behind unsafe breeding is the unprofessional ways of doing business. He proposed holding more seminars to provide breeders with updated information on new diseases and changes in policy.

Sharing their views, MARD pledged to improve the technical standards as well as regulations on veterinary hygiene and food safety, and closely monitor the quality of meat imports.