VN agriculture needs to breed independence

Viet Nam needs to pay more attention to the plant and livestock breeding sector in order to make its agricultural products more competitive in the global market, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has said.

He told a recent meeting in Ha Noi that one of the biggest problems in the country's agricultural sector was the high dependence on imported seed varieties and animal breeds.

Statistics compiled by the ministry show that Viet Nam currently imports more than 90 per cent of its chicken breeds and about 65 per cent of hybrid rice seeds.

While the import benefits Viet Nam in terms of improving quality, the ministry is planning to set a time limit for importing foreign seed varieties and breeds.

"We are asking companies to begin domestic production of the seed varieties and breeds after three years of imports," Phat said.

Commercial imports, or imports for sale in the domestic market, were very high for products like hybrid rice and tilapia fish, he added.

Pham Dong Quang, deputy director of the Department of Cultivation, said existing policies needed to be reviewed and amended to encourage enterprises undertake more breeding research.

The private sector should invest more in R&D because the application of bio-technology in plant breeding was still in its nascent stages in Viet Nam, experts said at the meeting.

Drought-resistant corn varieties and genetically modified soybeans that are pest-resistant were recent advancements in the country, the meeting heard.

Other advances could be seen from the fact that 58 per cent of cows were raised just for beef this year, up from 45 per cent in 2011. The number of disease-free shrimp farmed nationwide also rose from about 52 per cent in 2011 to 65 per cent this year.

Stronger copyright protection for new breeds was essential to encourage further R&D by the private sector, said Tran Manh Bao, director of the Thai Binh Breeding Co. —


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