Vietnam is working to export some of its pork to China soon, a deal that could help many farmers stricken by an oversupply and massive price drops.
Necessary procedures are being finalized and China will only import pork, instead of live pigs, said Nguyen Xuan Duong, deputy head of the husbandry department under the agriculture ministry.
China, the world's biggest pork consumer, wanted to officially open its market for Vietnamese pork years ago, but in 2012, the foot-and-mouth disease made headlines in Vietnam, prompting the northern neighbor to halt the plan.
As for now, China has asked Vietnam's authorities to control diseases in animal farms and monitor the quality of pork, Nong Nghiep Vietnam (Vietnamese Agriculture) newspaper reported Friday.
Chinese officials will come to Vietnam to check the production process before working on related procedures.
He said China has not decided on how much it will import, but it is likely that Chinese consumers will need around one million tons of Vietnamese pork a year.
Chinese buyers currently pay VND40,000-42,000 ($1.70-1.80) per kilogram of pork. Prices of pork have fallen sharply in Vietnam this year, currently hovering around VND23,000-25,000 per kilo.
Vietnamese small traders used to be able to sell live pigs across the border, but China has recently ended this practice.
In May 2016, the agriculture ministry started warning traders of a possible glut.
Farmers have been expanding their herds hoping to increase exports to China despite warnings from the ministry, and "this has caused the pork supplies to exceed domestic demand," the ministry said in a statement on April 28.
Vietnam's pig herd expanded by nearly 5 percent to more than 29 million heads last year. By the end of March this year the number had edged up by at least 1.5 percent, according to official data.
The agriculture ministry estimated that Vietnam will face a surplus of 200,000 tons of pork this year. It is trying to also export live pigs and pork to the Philippines and Singapore.