Vietnam earned US$2.95 billion from rice exports but spent US$4 billion to import animal feed and materials for feed production in 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Vietnam spends the most on animal feed in the world. The country spent US$375 million on feed imports in the first two months of 2014, an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2013. Ninety percent of the imports came from Brazil and Thailand, according to a report.
Rice exports reached 700,000 tons, yielding US$303 million in the first two months in 2014.
Vietnam consumes 12.5 million tons of animal feed but must import up to 9 million tons of materials per year, said Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Feed Association. The country's dependence on imports is due to flawed agricultural policy throughout the past 20 years.
Animal feed occupies 70 percent in costs of breeding products, said Nguyen Xuan Duong, deputy head of the Livestock Department.