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Fierce competition in development of feed crops

12:37 | 06/08/2022

VCN – Speaking to Customs News, Director of the Department of Crop Production (MARD) Mr. Nguyen Nhu Cuong, said that over 10 million hectares of agricultural land is currently covered with all kinds of crops. In order to develop feed crops such as corn, soybeans, etc., these plants themselves must be competitive in terms of economic efficiency with existing plants.

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Director of the Department of Crop Production (MARD) Mr. Nguyen Nhu Cuong
Director of the Department of Crop Production (MARD) Mr. Nguyen Nhu Cuong

Some say that the lack of specific planning on the production area of feed crops is one of the reasons why Vietnam has to heavily depend on imported sources, what is your point of view?

The Planning Law of 2017 does not stipulate product planning. This means that there is no national planning for each type of crop, for example, there is no national planning for rice cultivation, rubber trees or corn.

However, in Decision 124/QD-TTg dated February 2, 2012, on "Master plan on development of agricultural production to 2020 and vision to 2030", there is an orientation on area development with some key crops, including feed crops.

At the same time, the Prime Minister issued Decision 255/QD-TTg dated February 25, 2021 approving the "Plan to restructure the agricultural sector for the 2021 – 2025 period" and Decision 150/-TTg dated January 28, 2022 approving the "Strategy for sustainable agricultural and rural development for the 2021 – 2030 period, with a vision to 2050".

Based on the orientations and advantages of each locality, when making provincial planning, it is necessary to have an orientation for the planning of concentrated agricultural production areas.

On that basis, there are reasonable policies and investments in infrastructure for production, processing and logistics, etc., in order to maximize local advantages.

Vietnam is considered to have no advantage to promote the development of feed crops. Could you give a more specific analysis on this aspect?

Agricultural production in Vietnam is commodity production in accordance with market rules and prioritizes development of advantageous plants with high economic efficiency and sustainability. Corn and soybean are not more competitive than current crops such as rice, fruit trees and industrial plants, etc.

Vietnam's agricultural land fund has about 10 million hectares and has been planted with other crops such as rice, fruit trees, and industrial plants. Therefore, if you want to develop corn or other feed crops, these crops must compete in terms of economic efficiency and investment efficiency with others. If feed crops bring more efficiency, the trend of shifting to feed crops is inevitable. That is the rule of the market, it is impossible to use administrative orders to develop feed crops if they do not have competitive advantages.

For example, for corn crops, Vietnam has a set of corn varieties equivalent to that of advanced countries in the world. In the condition of good land and intensive farming, corn yield reaches 10 tons/ha as in the Central Highlands and Southeast. However, in the Southeast and Central Highlands regions, corn or feed crops must compete with industrial crops (rubber, coffee, etc.), fruit trees in terms of economic efficiency and investment efficiency and use of land resources.

Currently, the corn production area is concentrated in sloping, arid and difficult areas, mainly relying on natural water supply, plus the production scale is fragmented, and the rate of mechanization in farming is low (approximately 20-25%), resulting in high costs and low productivity. These factors make the production cost of corn and soybean much higher than the price of imported corn and soybean.

There is no advantage to growing on a large scale compared to other crops, but is there any feasible solution to promote the development of planting areas for feed crops in areas with certain advantages?

In general, feed crops such as corn, soybean, etc. do not have advantages on a large scale, but still have advantages in certain areas; and we must focus on developing feed crops in areas with such advantages.

For example, in arid areas where water sources are not active such as Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan, it is possible to develop biomass corn, fodder grass, and dry crops that require little water. In Moc Chau (Son La), it is also possible to grow biomass corn. In these areas, biomass corn and fodder grass are more advantageous than existing crops.

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The orientation for the development of feed crops in the near future is to reorganize production, link production and processing, consume in parallel with encouraging consolidation and exchange of plots, and accumulation of fields to create large-scale production areas; to encourage the conversion of crops on inefficient rice land, land that is not active in water; to apply advanced farming processes to reduce input materials in order to reduce production costs; to diversify crops such as biomass corn, sorghum, fodder grass, etc.

Thank you Sir!

By Thanh Nguyen/ Huyen Trang