Chinese chickens invade local market
By Thuy Dung - The Saigon Times Daily
HANOI – While local chicken prices are falling dramatically, Chinese chickens keep illegally flowing into Vietnam, dragging down domestic prices further. It is noted with concerns that chickens from China are all old fowls that have been disposed.
Smuggled chickens hard to control
Nguyen Thanh Son, deputy director of the Husbandry Department under Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has warned against meat oversupply as poultry production was growing rapidly.
Poultry output reached 430,000 tons in the first six months, up 13% year-on-year. Contrary to the surging supply, consumption declined markedly due to economic recession.
Chicken prices in June and early July plunged to only VND25,000 per kilo.
Paradoxically, while local chicken supply is redundant, leading to constant price drops, foreign chickens are illegally penetrating en masse into the country. In Hanoi alone, the market monitoring forces seized 17 tons of smuggled chickens in early this July.
According to Nguyen Huy Dang, deputy director of the Hanoi agriculture department, Chinese people do not eat disposed old chicken because it contains residues of hormones, antibiotics and other toxic substances after a long time of rearing. Disposed chickens are sold at a mere VND5,000-6,000 a kilo, but if they were smuggled to Vietnam, the price would surge to VND25,000.
With such a wide profit margin, it is difficult to control the illegal poultry import.
Since the year’s beginning, Hanoi has spent more than VND1 billion destroying smuggled chickens with unclear origins.
Local livestock industry at stake
At a recent meeting of the steering committee for cattle and poultry disease prevention in Hanoi, deputy agriculture minister Diep Kinh Tan said it was unusual that domestic chicken prices were plunging, yet Chinese chickens were still overflowing into Vietnam.
The reason is prices of Chinese disposed chicken are too cheap. “Currently, prices of local chickens have dropped to VND25,000-30,000 per kilo, or VND5,000-6,000 lower than production costs, meaning farmers are suffering losses, but the prices of disposed chickens smuggled from China are equal to only a half.”
Smuggled chickens increase chances of diseases, pose risks to food safety and exert a pressure for the domestic livestock industry. In fact, consumers do not want to consume illegally imported chicken.
Therefore, to protect domestic farmers and consumers, the border localities must tighten control on chicken imports.
Deputy Minister Tan also asked the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to aggressively deploy the Prime Minister’s dispatch on tightening control over smuggled poultry to prevent illegal imports as what has happened over the past time.