HANOI, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam will focus on developing cattle, poultry and aquatic breeding to compensate for a shortage of pork which is expected to hit the country this year due to African swine fever, local media reported on Monday.
As the outbreak of African swine fever has caused heavy losses for Vietnam's livestock sector, cattle breeding will be pushed to ensure meat supplies for the market, daily newspaper Vietnam News quoted Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien as saying.
Vietnamese demand for beef is about three kg per head per year, while in the rest of Asia it is over five kg, and in some developed countries it is more than nine kg, according to the Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The average demand for milk in Asia is 81 kg per head per year compared to the world figure of 120 kg. In Vietnam, it is 20 kg, providing an advantage for the grass-fed livestock industry to re-organize production, especially when the country is trying to integrate into the global agricultural value chain, online newspaper Thoi Bao Kinh Doanh (Business Times) quoted the department's deputy head Tong Xuan Chinh as saying.
However, it is not easy for domestic beef to compete with imported beef favored by many Vietnamese customers. "Beef imported from Australia and the United States is available in most supermarkets, retail stores, traditional markets, industrial kitchens and restaurants," Chinh noted.
Since the first outbreak in Vietnam's northern Hung Yen province in February, African swine fever has spread to 57 out of 63 localities in the country, leading to the culling of some 2.5 million pigs nationwide, or 7.5 percent of the country's total pig population, according to the agriculture ministry.