Vietnam urged to rethink the plan to develop cassava plants

Published: 28/04/2011 05:00



Bridge – Cassava products have been selling like hot cakes. Meanwhile, the
consumption is expected to increase further in the next years. However,
development programmers still have been called to reconsider the plan to
develop cassava plants.

The rise of
the cassava plants

It is now the second time that Vietnam has witnessed the boom of
cassava plant since 1975. The first time occurred during the first years after
the country’s union, when the rice and maize output was low. Just within three
years, since 1979, the cassava growing area increased by two folds, to the
record high of 461,400 hectares, while the output also climbed to the record
high of 3.422 million tons.

Later, when Vietnam
became a rice export power, cassava plants became less attractive in the eyes
of farmers, who preferred to grow rice to earn money.

However, cassava plants, once again, have become “favored” by farmers,
which have hindered the development of many other kinds of plants. The cassava
growing area has increased by 7.6 percent to 496,200 hectares, while the output
has increased by 15.7 percent to 8.522 million tons.

Vietnamese farmers have been rushing to grow cassava because they can
see the high demand from the Chinese market.

In 2010, Vietnam
exported 1.7 million tons of cassava products in total, of which, China alone consumed
92.4 percent. The percentage was 94.1 percent in the first two months of the
year. Fresh cassava has also been carried out continuously to China across
the border gates.

Why cassava?

While Vietnamese farmers feel happy with the money they earn from
exporting cassava to China,
experts have called on to reconsider the plan on developing cassava plants.

Nguyen Dinh Bich, a well known trade expert from the Trade Research
Institute, said on Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon, that Vietnam is not the country which
has advantages in developing cassava plants for export. In the world, only the
countries with large area and thin population density can reserve many areas
for growing cassava. This explains why in the world, only four countries have
the cassava growing areas of more than one million hectares, namely Nigeria
(3.8 million hectares), Brazil (1.8-1.9 million), Thailand (1.3 million) and
Indonesia (1.2 million).

Besides Ghana, there
are only three other poor countries in the world which have the cassava growing
areas exceeding Vietnam’s,
including Angola, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Regarding the yield; though Vietnam’s
cassava output in 2009 was high at 16.8 tons per hectare, which was much higher
than the average yield in the world, the figure is still lower than the average
level of 20.2 tons per hectare in Asia and 22.7 tons per hectares in Thailand.

The demand for cassava is believed to increase sharply in the time to
come, as enterprises need cassava to make many kinds of products. Cassava is
being used in making seasoning powder, used in cooking industry. Especially, the
demand for animal breeding alone is at 1.5 million tons per annum. Besides, Vietnam also
has five ethanol factories and tens of other factories making alcohol of
different kinds, which also need cassava.

However, Bich has pointed out that Vietnam
cannot compete with China,
even though the cassava yield has been increasing considerably in recent years.
Since the cassava prices have been increasing too sharply, many enterprises
have to shift to use other kinds of materials, which explain why the imports of
maize and wheat have been increasing rapidly.

The third problem that experts have pointed out to persuade development
programmers to put a brake on the cassava growing area development, is that
while growing cassavas mostly serve the demand from foreign countries, Vietnam would
lack land to develop other important farm produce, because the agriculture land
fund will not be enlarged.

Statistics show that while cassava plants see “hot development”, the
growing areas of many other kinds of plants has been decreasing. The cotton
growing area, for example, has reduced by 6.9 percent per annum, while the
sugar cane area by 1.3 percent per annum. Especially, the cashew growing area
has been decreasing for the third consecutive years by 11 percent in total.

Source: TBKTSG

Provide by Vietnam Travel

Vietnam urged to rethink the plan to develop cassava plants - Features - In depth |  vietnam travel company

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