Vietnamese firms get taste for Aussie beef amid animal cruelty scandal

By Dam Tuan   June 27, 2016 | 07:01 pm GMT+7

Following Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC and Red Star Company, Vietnam’s leading steel manufacturer Hoa Phat Group has launched an $8 million investment into feedlots and abattoirs to fulfill the high demand for Australian beef in Vietnam.

Vietnam's population of 94 million people is eating an increasing amount of Australian beef, and Hoa Phat is the latest company to get involved in the market as the sector plans to increase imports to 50,000 heads annually, Australia's FarmOnline said in a report on Monday.

To meet strict animal welfare standards enforced by Australia’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS), Hoa Phat Group has been spending millions of dollars on infrastructure.

The taste for Australian beef has strengthened investment in Vietnamese feedlots and abattoirs. Photo by Sotiale, Creative Commons 2.0

The taste for Australian beef has strengthened investment in Vietnamese feedlots and abattoirs. Photo by Sotiale, Creative Commons 2.0

North Australian Cattle Company manager Patrick Underwood said its holding company Elders has worked closely with Hoa Phat Group to develop designs for the feedlots, estimated to cost more than $8 million.

To import cattle from Australia in the coming six weeks, Hoa Phat Livestock Development JSC (a subsidiary of Hoa Phat Group) is finalizing the construction of six feedlots.

“It is a long and rigorous checklist to ensure that any new player is ready, willing and able to import Australian cattle – and they’ll be no different,” Underwood told Farmonline.

“They have an aim to be the number one feedlotters in Vietnam and because of the work they’re doing prior to shipment and the quality of their facilities, I feel very strongly they will be,” the manager added.

The steel giant, with annual turnover of more than $1.2 billion, is not the only large investor in cattle imports. Underwood said many other companies have been upgrading and constructing new facilities over the past three years to welcome livestock imported from Australia.

“There is an increase of second tier importers and new players coming in that understand the significant investment required to build high quality feedlots,” the North Australian Cattle Company’s representative said.

Vietnam has about five million cattle and a love of beef. The average consumption in the Southeast Asian nation has doubled to 5-6 kilograms of beef per annum in the past decade.

A feedlot and several slaughterhouses in Vietnam were recently blocked from receiving livestock from Australian exporters following alleged animal cruelty

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