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Dairy Vietnam Project Attracts New Members

30 July 2008

VIETNAM - Traditionally milk has not featured in the diet of Asians but things are changing. This struck a cord with Stuart Lumb when on a recent visit to Ho Chi Minh City.

He was approached by a youngster selling postcards and was told the money was needed "to buy some milk ". A sign of the times maybe? Ministry of Agriculture data would tend to support this. According to government figures, there were 100,000 dairy cows in Vietnam 2007.


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"Milk prices have doubled recently so dairying is making money, which has to be encouraging"
Raf Somers, chief technical advisor for the Vietnam Belgium Dairy Project

Estimates indicate this number will double by 2010 and will stand at 500,000 by 2020. Raf Somers is from Belgium and is the chief technical advisor for the Vietnam Belgium Dairy Project, Dairy Vietnam, which was established in 2005.

Mr Somers was promoting his project at the recent ILDEX Vietnam trade fair and was delighted to announce that he had signed up 500 new dairy farmers who had been visiting ILDEX.

Mr Somers' brief is to put on education courses for Vietnamese dairy farmers,targeting key farmers initially Somers also organises demonstrations of various types of milking and dairying equipment.

"Milk prices have doubled recently so dairying is making money, which has to be encouraging" commented Mr Somers. The average herd size is only 5 cows in the north and 6 in the south. Vietnam has a State AI service so despite the small herd size farmers do have access to top quality sires. Cows are all zero grazed with forage being cut by hand and carted to the cows.

Milk is generally sold in UHT form .Somers is encouraging dairymen to replace their traditional elephant grass with Australian varieties and use irrigation where possible.

He is also keen to get farmers to grow corn silage and preserve it in plastic bags and in the north of Vietnam Somers is getting farmers to try Avena grass mixes which are suited to the cooler northern climate. The Belgian government is reducing its funding and so Somers is keen to find new partners to help finance the project.

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