Country Profiles

Inputs sector

Vietnam has a small grazing area of around only 329,000 hectares (MARD, 2014). Of which, 58% is located in the Northern Mountains and Midlands. Smallholders in the lowland areas usually have less than 1 ha of land, while in the upland areas have less than 2 ha. Smallholders have increasingly moved from extensive to intensive production to produce beef more efficiently.

Rice straw with an annual production of about 21 million tonnes is used as the main source of feed in cattle production systems. Increasingly forage is grown to fatten cattle in the market oriented cattle production systems (Stur & Gray, 2014).
Commercial compound feeds (mainly corn and soybean) are also used in cattle fattening systems. The feed costs in Vietnam are high compared to international standards due to limited local production, low yields and import tariffs.

In traditional crop-cattle systems, the most common breeds are small yellow cattle that are well-adapted to low quality and limited feed resources, and remain productive. Larger cattle breeds with greater physiological demands including Sindhi Crossbreeds (known in Vietnam as Laisind) are now often raised in the lowlands, fertile coastal and central highland areas with abundant feed resources.

Sindhilisation has been regarded as an important program in the cattle production as Laisind cattle have the ability to adapt and remain reproductive under hot and humid climate in Vietnam. The Laisind number has increased quickly, and accounted for 30% of the total cattle population in 2006 (Dinh, 2007).

Vietnam’s cattle herd has a complex structure comprising of local yellow cattle breeds, Laisind and exotic breeds (FAO, 2003). Extensive cow-calf cattle producers often use local yellow breeds (70-90% of the total cattle herd), with the rest being Laisind. Natural mating commonly takes place in uncontrolled conditions during common grazing. However, some cattle producers select a preferred bull (e.g. Red Sindhi) and pay a fee. Bulls usually come from a household within the village. Specialised fattening operations tend to use a broader based genetic mix and AI, which can include 60% Laisind, 30% cross breeds, and 10% local breeds.

The veterinary system in Vietnam has re-organised and expanded in the 1990s following the new government regulations concerning veterinary services, animal quarantine and slaughterhouse inspections driven by the outbreak of major diseases.

There are two separate systems at present: one includes the Veterinary Department in MARD and six regional animal health centres, and the other includes provincial veterinary sub-department and district veterinary stations which are funded by and responsible to provincial governments. Animal health workers, also called para-professional workers, conduct preventive and curative interventions at commune and village level.

The problems of the current systems are the inability of the centres to collect, store and retrieve reliable information about disease incidence, the uneven performance of veterinary stations across provinces, and weak enforcement of hygiene regulations (MARD, 2014). It is thus important to improve capacities of the veterinary systems to control bovine diseases e.g. foot and mouth disease and tuberculosis to meet international protocols for trade formalisation between Vietnam and its neighbouring countries.

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