Article – Vietnam investing millions to take Australian cattle

14 March 2014
Matt Brann
ABC Rural

PHOTO: Mr Hoa at the KPT5 feedlot near Ho Chi Minh City. His company is in the middle of building its sixth feedlot to handle Australian cattle.

The booming live cattle trade to Vietnam is driving huge investment in Vietnamese abattoirs and feedlots.
Companies are spending millions of dollars on infrastructure, so they can cater for the extra supply, and also meet the animal welfare standards enforced by Australia (ESCAS).
Importing company Ket Phat Thinh (KPT) owns five feedlots and two abattoirs and is in the middle of building another feedlot, capable of handing 10,000 head.
KPT imported around 36,000 cattle from Australia last year, and its director, Mr Hoa, is hoping to take a lot more in 2014.
“It would be good for the market if Vietnam could receive 20,000 head of cattle every month and spread out across the year.” he said.
“We mainly target cattle that we can send to slaughter straight away. So the cattle need to be in good condition, heavy cattle in good condition.”
Mr Hoa says his company has a history of importing cattle from nearby countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, but now only deals with Australian cattle.
KPT is not the only cattle importer spending big. There are many others upgrading or building new facilities so they can handle Australian animals.
In the Dak Lak Province, north-west of Nha Trang, the Red Star Company has already spent about $US5 million on a huge integrated system which includes a feedlot, an abattoir and 1,500 hectares of nearby farmland to grow feed for the cattle. It’s taken two years to build and is expected to take only Australian livestock.
ABC Rural will have more on the development of the Red Star Agriculture Complex next week.
Dealing with ESCAS
To guarantee the welfare of cattle exported from Australia, importing countries must meet the requirements of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
When asked what it’s been like adhering to Australia’s animal welfare rules, Mr Hoa said there had been challenges.
“At first we found ESCAS difficult to deal with and initially we didn’t understand.
“But we move along and have been helped by our exporter (Wellard), who have been supporting us, supporting us financially as well, and giving us ideas on how to improve our system.
“We’ve had help and training from MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia) and we’re getting to understand ESCAS better… I think it’s ok to deal with. “I think it’s worth doing and by applying ESCAS it’ll improve the quality of the beef too.”
Cattle processed at KPT abattoirs are stunned prior to slaughter, and in the KPT1 abattoir visited by ABC Rural, the company had installed CCTV cameras to monitor staff and the slaughter process.

Courtesy of ABC Rural