HA NOI — Higher prices being offered for milk by middlemen since the beginning of the year is good news for dairy farmers, but housewives are not so happy that this has pushed the price of retail milk up by about 6 per cent.

Vinamilk and Friesland-Campina Viet Nam, for instance, have increased their purchasing offers by VND700 (US$0.035) a kilo to about VND11,520 ($0.58) a kilo.

The higher prices have eased the pain of dariy farmers forced to pay more and more for processed cattle feed.

Phi Dinh Nghi, a farmer in Van Hoa Commune, Ba Vi District in Ha Noi, said he collected 40kg of milk from two dairy cows a day.

He said his profit had soared to VND7 million ($350) a month, an increase of more than VND2 million ($100).

Another farmer in Phu Dong Commune in Gia Lam District, Le Van Nuoi, said processed cattle food was selling for VND158,000 ($7.9) a 25-kg bag compared to VND145,000 ($7.25) at the start of last year.

“Thanks to the extra income, farmers can also contemplate buying more modern equipment to collect milk, and buy more feed to improve its quality,” said Nuoi.

While higher prices have created a better outlook for dairy farmers, Nguyen Thanh Son, deputy director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Breeding Department, warned there could be a downside.

“Many farmers raise dairy cows even if they do not have the appropriate technology and knowledge for the work. They may cause prices for dairy heifers to soar and exhaust supplies of stock feed,” he said.

Overproduction could also lower milk quality.

The Breeding Department will ask provincial departments of agriculture to supervise the breeding of dairy cows.

“We will ask departments to help local farmers understand that the increase of milk prices is an obvious consequence when milk demand raise.

“Departments should train farmers in the proper technology for breeding dairy cows to cope with demand, which has increased by about 30 per cent in Viet Nam and around the world,” Son said.

He added that ideally farmers should raise five to 10 dairy cows, even 15, to lower costs and make production more efficient.

At present Viet Nam has more than 260,000 dairy cows, but they only meet 20 per cent of demand. The remaining milk products have to be imported.

However, the numbers of dairy cattle are expected to reach 470,000 by 2020. This will meet 35 to 38 per cent of local demand. 

Information from VietnamNews.

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