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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has for the first time introduced a draft decree on fines for animal feed, breeder and veterinary medicine violations.
The kicker is foreign feed animal violators could be expelled from Vietnam if they fail to obey the country's animal feed regulations.
According to the draft, the maximum fine for the animal feed sector is VND100 million ($4,800) for individuals and VND200 million ($9,600) for organisations and enterprises.
Violators will be subject to fines of VND50-100 million ($2,400-4,800) if they use banned substances for making feed products. If they repeat this violation, they will have their own business certificates revoked.
Also, fines of VND50-100 million ($2,400-4,800) will be imposed on importing feeds containing banned substances. Fines of VND30-50 million ($1,442-2,400) will be inflicted on illegally importing animal feeds unlisted in Vietnam's list of usable feeds.
Besides, violators will face fines of VND40-50 million ($1,923-2,400) for intentional continued production if production is halted by authorised agencies.
The decree also details various fine for other violations, with a minimum fine of VND3 million ($144).
However, Vietnam Animal Feed Association chairman Le Ba Lich said besides forcing foreign violators to leave Vietnam as the biggest punishment, "it is necessary to trumpet enterprises' violations on mass media."
"Fines are in many cases meaningless to violators as feed business fetches great profit. What violators scare most is not being fined, but the loss of brand names," Lich said.
Local media reported that many local and foreign feed makers were last year found to violate feed-related regulations. For example, Indonesia's animal feed producer Japfa Comfeed Long An marketed fake feeds for chicken of 28-42 days old and pigs.
Meanwhile, locally-owned Nong Lam-Vina Animal Feed Joint Stock Company also marketed fake feed for pigs. Moreover, multinational company Asian Nutrition Technologies was also found to make combined feeds for pigs and poultry. All these violators were then fined VND18-VND25 million ($865.4-1,200).
However, Nguyen Van Tinh, vice director of northern Hai Duong provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "Many local merchants buy feeds from these companies for sales. Thus, will they be punished or will the companies? The decree should clarify this point."
The new decree, expected to be adopted this year, will replace Decree 40/2009/ND-CP dated April 24, 2009 on veterinary sanctions, Decree 47/2005/ND-CP dated April 8, 2005 on breeder-related sanctions and Decree 08/2011/ND-CP dated January 25, 2011 on punishing animal feed violations. All these three existing decrees offered weak punishments and were complicated for local authorised agencies, said Nguyen Xuan Duong, vice head of the MARD's Livestock Production Department.
Vietnam has 57 foreign feed suppliers, 41 of which are wholly owned and the remaining 16 are joint ventures with local partners.
"Meanwhile, the rest of the feed market was held by 170 Vietnamese suppliers and is now even being attacked by foreign companies, which are increasingly expanding their operations in Vietnam not only in feed but also in animal medicines and breeders," said Vietnam Husbandry Association's chairman Nguyen Dang Vang.