Agricultural Exports Overcome Hardships to Make Impressive Growth

8:26:46 AM | 9/16/2021

Vietnam's agricultural exports still grew impressively notwithstanding difficulties caused by the COVID-19 epidemic

Growth despite epidemic outbreak

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam earned US$32.1 billion from exporting agricultural, forest and aquatic products in the first eight months of 2021, up 21.6% year on year. Specifically, agricultural exports brought home over US$13.9 billion, up 13.6%; forest products generated US$11.2 billion, up 42.7%; aquatic products fetched over US$5.6 billion, up 7.1%; livestock was estimated at US$296 million, up 15.9%; and production inputs made about US$1.1 billion, up 31.1%. Although the export value of most agricultural products declined in August, the January-August value still picked up thanks to strong growth in the first months of the year. Strong performers included coffee, rubber, vegetables and fruits, pepper, cashew nuts, cassava, livestock, pangasius, shrimp, wooden furniture, rattan and bamboo articles and cinnamon.

Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, the United States remained the largest export market of Vietnam's agricultural, forest and aquatic products, accounting for over US$9.3 billion or 29.1% of the share. The second biggest market for Vietnam was China, with nearly US$6.1 billion or 18.9% of the market share, with fruits and vegetables accounting for 25.5%. The ministry continued to promote international trade and exports and expand its agricultural export markets such as Peru, Australia, Brazil, China, the United States, ASEAN and Russia according to the country’s agricultural cooperation frameworks with them. The ministry continued to support localities and enterprises to export agricultural products, especially longan, litchi, mango, sweet potato and chili of international standards to the EU, the UK and China.

Besides, the ministry closely cooperated with central agencies and foreign trade agencies to capture market information, promptly inform localities and businesses of new warnings and regulations in export markets as well as information on agricultural quota regulations after the effective date of free trade agreements.

Solutions to difficulty

Despite impressive growth, Vietnam's agricultural exports still faced numerous challenges. As the complicated COVID-19 epidemic development disturbed trade and transport and directly affected agricultural production and processing areas for export and social distancing measures were applied according to Directive 16/CT-TTg, businesses had increase costs to adopt the so-called “three on the spot” production, and accept 2-3 times increase in freight rates to the US, Europe and other markets in the past year.

To achieve the goal of exporting US$44 billion worth of agricultural products in 2021, the agriculture sector needs to actively and synchronously apply many solutions to boost production, enhance product quality and solve market problems.

To remove business difficulties, respond to complicated COVID-19 epidemic and fulfill the goal of earning US$44 billion from agricultural exports in 2021, Deputy Minister Tien said, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will closely work with central and local agencies to adjust production plans, rationalize weather-based and market-based seasonal crops farming; minimize damage caused by crop and livestock diseases. To remove difficulties for people and businesses and expand agricultural production, processing and consumption, the ministry directed competent bodies to adopt online appraisal and assessment in place of physical on-site appraisal and assessment.

Nguyen Nhu Cuong, Director of the Crop Production Department (MARD), added that the ministry is making a project to improve the effectiveness of SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) commitments to trade agreements, enabling enterprises and cooperatives to produce and process products of export standards.

By Minh Ngoc , Vietnam Business Forum