Over the last few years, the American Brahman Breeders Association (ABBA) and US Brahman breeders have been cultivating a new business relationship with the agriculture community in Vietnam. In the past, Vietnamese individuals and businesses have purchased semen from US breeders, but they are now importing bulls and looking to utilize American Brahman genetics and husbandry techniques on a larger scale.
The Vietnamese cattle breeders are primarily interested in Red Brahman genetics. The majority of their domestic cattle herd is derived from Red Sindhi, a popular Zebu dairy breed that originated in Pakistan, and the agricultural community in Vietnam prefers the Red Brahman genetics as they are used to red Bos indicus cattle.
Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing markets for US food and agricultural products. US exports to Vietnam totaled more than $2.3 billion in 2015, a 357% increase from 2007, which is the year Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization. Vietnam ranks as the United States’ eleventh largest agricultural export market.
2016 Trade Mission
The ABBA and the Holstein Association USA (HAUSA) conducted a successful trade mission to Vietnam October 29-November 7, 2016.
ABBA Recording Secretary Armelinda Ibarra and ABBA International Committee Chairman Dr. Scott Satterfield headed the US delegation on the trip, utilizing funds from USLGE. ABBA Members Josefina Muskus, Alfredo Muskus and Stuart Watkins traveled with them at their own expense, and Carl Kent of the Holstein Association joined the group in Vietnam.
The trade mission’s focus was to introduce and promote US beef and milk breeds and demonstrate how the utilization of high quality genetics could help develop the Vietnamese cattle industry.
“We don’t do many trade missions,” Ibarra said. “We have lots of established international markets throughout the world, and most of our international trips are spent maintaining those relationships… but this was totally different. Vietnam is a new, emerging market, and the people there are very excited about the American Brahman.”
During the trip, the ABBA and HAUSA conducted a “USA Livestock and Opportunities” workshop in Ho Chi Minh City. This educational workshop was attended by more than 80 producers, key leaders and government officials. Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, agriculture departments from several provinces, veterinarians, agriculture engineers as well as large animal corporations and producers. The workshop was held at the Caravelle Hotel meeting facilities and was highly publicized with national television and newspaper coverage.
The workshop began with a general assembly that included presentations from ABBA, HAUSA and World Wide Livestock Exports. A question-and-answer session followed the presentations, which lasted more than an hour and a half and covered a variety of topics from genetics, environment and housing to importation procedures and management.
After the workshop, the ABBA delegation participated in semen center and ranch tours as well as meetings with government officials. The ABBA delegation visited the Ruminant Husbandry Center and the National Institute of Animal Science in Vietnam. These visits allowed the ABBA to meet many individuals and organizations vital to Vietnam’s beef and agriculture industries.
“They are very interested in growing their beef cattle industry, and there is a substantial demand for more American Brahman genetics to be imported into their country,” Ibarra said.
In addition to providing the Vietnamese agricultural community with information about the Brahman breed, Ibarra worked to facilitate talks between them and animal science professionals in the United States. For example, one group is looking to open a second semen center in the country, and Ibarra put them in contact with Texas AgriLife Extension Livestock Specialist Dr. Joe Paschal to discuss husbandry, management and facility design.
The Moncada Breeding Station – Vietnam Ruminant Breeding Center in Hanoi is currently the only cattle semen collection station in the country, and it is run by the Vietnamese government. In an effort to bolster the country’s beef and dairy cattle genetics, the center collects bulls and sells semen to citizens at an economical rate.
Over the last two years, the Moncada station has imported twenty Red Brahman bulls from breeders in the United States.
The first importation consisted of ten young, breeding-age Red Brahman bulls from top ranches in Texas and Louisiana, including K Bar Farms, Detering Red Brahmans, Broken Triangle, Oden Ranch, 4L Cattle and a few others.
Clint Galiano of K-Bar Farms in Amite, Louisiana escorted these animals as they traveled from Chicago to Hanoi in Novemeber of 2015.
While in Vietnam, Galiano met with a large delegation of people from all aspects of Vietnamese agriculture who came to see the Brahman cattle. He also assisted the Moncada breeding station staff with the acclimation of the bulls to their new home and gave pointers on proper handling of Brahman cattle.
During the ABBA’s 2016 trade mission, the breeding station made a verbal commitment to import ten more bulls due to the success of the 2015 importation and the high demand for American Brahman genetics.
In March of 2017, Alfredo Muskus of Santa Elena Ranch in Madisonville, Texas escorted the second shipment of Red Brahman bulls on their journey to Vietnam. The bulls were selected from top breeders including HK Cattle, Detering Red Brahmans, Santa Elena Ranch, Canyon Creek and Rich Cattle Company. They were between a year and eighteen months old.
World Wide Livestock Express handled the quarantine, and TK Exports, Inc. managed the exportation of animals from Houston, Texas to Hanoi.
“It was an incredible experience,” Alfredo said. “The hospitality was great, and the people were very excited about the quality of the American Brahman bulls and the semen collected from previously imported animals. I am looking forward to working with them again in the future.”