Vietnam Growing Importer of Soybean Meal

28.07.2016

The people of Vietnam are eating so much more pork these days that the country has become one of the world’s biggest importers of the soybean meal it needs to feed an ever-expanding herd of pigs, a recent Bloomberg news item stated.

With local farmers unable to grow enough animal feed, imports of meal next year will be twice what they were in 2012, USDA data show. While China consumes more pork by far than any other country, the amount eaten per person will soon be eclipsed by Vietnam, OECD data show. Per-capita use in Vietnam will reach 33.9 kilograms (75 pounds) by 2023, up from 29.9 kilograms now and more than the estimated 33.3 kilograms expected in China by then.

More meat on the menu is a byproduct of economic growth in Vietnam. Per-capita gross domestic product jumped 42% over the past five years to $2,173.65 and is forecast to increase 43% to $3,105.41 in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The country has to buy about 70% of feed ingredients from overseas. Corn imports last year surged 59% to a record 7.55 million metric tons, while domestic production rose 1.5% to 5.28 million tons, according to Vietnam’s agriculture ministry. Purchases of soybean meal will reach an all-time high of 5.2 million tons in 2017, up from 2.28 million in 2012, USDA data show.

With more mills being built, Vietnam will import more whole soybeans for processing. Purchases will reach a record 1.75 million tons next year, according to USDA. That has helped make Vietnam the 11th-largest buyer of farm products from the U.S., the world’s top agricultural exporter. Cargill opened an $8.5 million plant in May that was its 11th in Vietnam and will complete construction of a $30 million mill in the second half of 2017.


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