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Last updated: Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Accelerating Agricultural Restructuring from Three Product Axes

Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018

In his report to the National Assembly on November 1, 2017, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Xuan Cuong said the overall agricultural restructuring programme is being carried out with three axes being National product; provincial product and commune-level product.

As for national product axis, Vietnam will select 10 agricultural products with an annual export value of US$1 billion or more each and address their existing weaknesses in production chains. For provincial product axis, it is necessary to choose products of local specialty produced on a large scale such as Hung Yen longan, Cao Phong orange and Bac Giang litchi. With respect to commune-level product axis, products of local specialty produced in a small scale will be developed.

US$36.37 billion of exports
This value in 2017 was higher than the target of US$32 - 33 billion set by the government for the sector and US$4 billion more than the previous year. The absolute trade surplus of this sector was US$8.55 billion, an increase of more than US$1 billion over 2016.

Reviewing the performance in 2017, Minister Cuong said that the year 2017 marked a turning point in turning development axes of key agricultural products. Previously, Vietnam attached top importance to rice production and gave priority to developing more valuable commodities such as seafood, vegetables and wooden furniture.

By product, rice remained the top forex gainer with US$2.66 billion, up 22.4 per cent in volume and up 23.2 per cent in value over 2016. Rubber export was estimated to end the year with 1.39 million tonnes and US$2.26 billion, up 11 per cent in volume, up 35.6 per cent in value. Tea export reached 140,000 tonnes worth US$229 million, up 7.2 per cent in volume and up 5.6 per cent in value. Cassava export shipments were estimated at 3.95 million tonnes valued US$1.04 billion, up 6.9 per cent in volume and up 4.2 per cent in value. Cashew exports reached 353,000 tonnes worth US$3.52 billion, up 1.9 per cent in volume and up 23.8 per cent in value. Wooden furniture export brought in US$7.6 billion, up 9.1 per cent. Seafood export rose 18 per cent year on year to US$8.32 billion. In particular, the export value of vegetables and fruits was estimated at US$3.45 billion, an increase of 40.5 per cent over 2016.

Enterprises as a driving force for restructuring
2017 also marked the completion of agricultural cooperative economic development models. Over 1,400 cooperatives and 1,000 cooperative groups were established, bringing the total number of agricultural cooperatives to over 12,200. Over 30 per cent of them work well.

Especially in 2017, nearly 2,000 newly established enterprises were involved in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, representing a year on year growth of 3.8 per cent and bringing total enterprises engaged in this sector to over 5,600. Many gigantic corporations have chosen high-tech agriculture and organic agriculture as main drives.

Mr Ho Xuan Hung, former Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Chairman of Vietnam General Council of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, challenges of climate change, export competition and stiffer technical barriers in importing countries require the sector to change their thinking and create breakthroughs in production. It must speed up the application of scientific and technological advances of the world to end scattered production. The agricultural sector not only focuses on full-scale production but also needs to shift to more productive development. We must continue to create a favourable environment for enterprises to lead agricultural development, he added.

Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that, in 2018, this ministry will continue to coordinate with localities to review plans and assess advantages and potentials to build three product axes and develop the market at the same time.

According to experts, the agricultural sector targets to grow from 2.8 per cent to 3 per cent and exports will rise to US$37 - 38 billion in 2018 if the product restructuring is done well.

Nguyen Thanh

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