The U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) Southeast Asia and Oceania (SEA&O) office recently led a delegation of U.S. sorghum industry representatives and growers to Vietnam to explore high-value uses of sorghum with regulators and leading buyers and feed mills. The mission produced new opportunities for industry stakeholders in that country to explore the use of sorghum as an alternative feed ingredient for high-value rations, particularly in pet food and aquaculture.
The U.S. sorghum team included growers and representatives from the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP), National Sorghum Producers, Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Association and Board. The trade mission marked the first official visit by the U.S. sorghum industry to Vietnam since U.S. sorghum gained market access in 2020.
The pathway for U.S. sorghum market access to Vietnam was finalized in May 2020 following the completion of a pest risk assessment and nearly three years of close collaboration between USGC, the U.S. sorghum industry, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
“Achieving sorghum market access was a big win for the U.S. sorghum industry”, said Tran Trong Nghia, USGC Vietnam country representative. “The Vietnamese government put in earnest effort to ensure U.S. supply can meet the demand of the Vietnamese people.”
In Hanoi, the sorghum team met with a delegation from MARD, where they discussed methods to mitigate inflationary pressure for feed and food and the benefits of sorghum as an alternative ingredient. The Vietnamese delegation was led by Vice Minister of Agriculture Le Quoc Doanh and included officials from the Plant Protection Department (PPD) and International Cooperation Department (ICD), as well as representatives from two of Vietnam’s largest grain buyers.
The trade team also visited Vietnam’s first industrialized duck raising operation, owned by Mavin, one of Vietnam’s leading agribusinesses that is currently producing 6.5 million ducklings per year. The delegation was briefed on the operating activities of the farm and current dynamics in the Vietnamese duck market and offered information on feed formulations utilizing sorghum.
In southern Vietnam, the mission visited Vin Hoan, the country’s largest producer of pangasius, to discuss the company’s procurement practices and explore potential uses of sorghum in Vietnam’s higher-value aquaculture diets. USGC and USCP have been assessing and promoting the use of sorghum in Vietnamese pangasius diets since 2017, when feeding trials were conducted to test the viability of replacing cassava, a local energy source, with sorghum.
The group also visited Gyuomarch’s Bình Dương province factory, near Ho Chi Minh City. The sorghum delegation was able to view Gyuomarch’s pet food production process and discuss the potential for sorghum in Vietnamese pet formulations.
The global pet food market reached $97.47 billion in 2021 and is projected to increase to $136.82 billion by 2028,” said Caleb Wurth, USGC SEA&O regional director. “Vietnam will certainly be part of this growth, and we intend to position our products to participate.”
Vietnam is the largest animal feed market in Southeast Asia, producing over 30.1 million metric tons (MMT) in 2021 and forecasted to surpass 35 MMT of production within the next few years. The country alone produces around 75 percent of the world’s pangasius, a key new-use target for U.S. sorghum and corn co-products.
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.