Strengthening Linkages to Accelerate Rice and Veggie Exports

3:31:21 PM | 6/10/2024

The exports of Vietnam’s rice, fruits and vegetables have witnessed substantial growth in terms of both quantity and monetary value. Traders and producers are successfully leveraging the benefits derived from the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to which Vietnam is a signatory.

According to the General Department of Customs (GDC), Vietnam's rice and vegetable exports expanded in both volume and value in the first four months of 2024. Specifically, rice shipments soared by 9.5% in volume and 33.6% in value year on year. Fruit and vegetable exports surged 38.1% in value. Export shipments to key markets and potential markets optimistically increased.

Trade associations and businesses have effectively exploited traditional markets while opening up many new, potential markets. The name of Vietnamese rice and vegetable and fruit products has been strengthened in the international market. Industry associations have effectively helped their member companies improve the quality, production, import and export of agricultural products.

According to experts, the global import demand for rice, vegetables and fruits will increase in the coming time due to supply disruptions in countries affected by armed conflicts, geopolitical competition, and trade war between major countries. Moreover, importers impose technical barriers to protect trade. These are considerably challenging for Vietnam's fruit and vegetable sector.

To meet the increasing market demand, Vietnam needs to reinforce business links, uphold the role of industry associations, promote green production and green corporate governance, perfect policies on investment attraction and business support, improve negotiation capacity, and handle international trade disputes.

In addition, Vietnam continues to speed up negotiations, sign new and upgraded FTAs with partners in potential markets, facilitate businesses to diversify markets, supply chains and export products, especially in potential new market regions/segments that have not been effectively tapped such as Halal food products, African and Latin American markets. These factors will exert a strong impact on Vietnam's rice, fruit and vegetable trading in the coming time.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said that Vietnam needs to strengthen business connection and cooperation while fostering the role of trade associations. Only when businesses and trade associations change their buying-selling mindset to association and cooperation mindset can they enhance the strength of a sector and edge up product competitiveness on the international market.

In the context of mixed advantages and disadvantages, to further boost sustainable rice, fruit and vegetable exports while firmly ensuring national food security, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien proposed that industry trade groups and relevant bodies under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Home Affairs to focus on implementing key contents below.

For trade associations, Minister Dien suggested that they focus on boosting effective communication and thoroughly, and promptly inform businesses and producers of Party and State policies and mechanisms as well as instructions of ministries and central agencies on Party and State policies and mechanisms on agricultural production and export, including rice, vegetables and fruits, to help businesses and producers understand and follow such policies and mechanisms in their activities.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will focus on informing and supporting companies in accessing information, making the most of incentives from FTAs and market-specific requirements while actively guiding and assisting them in restructuring pro-green production and corporate governance. At the same time, it will coordinate and advise localities in planning growing areas, adopting modern, standard production methods, ensuring stable quality and food safety requirements, and clearly identify growing area codes and product traceability to meet increasing requirements of import markets.

For relevant ministries and agencies, he requested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to direct and promote rice, vegetable and fruit restructuring to achieve higher quality and outcome; effectively direct farming area planning, production, seed structuring, farming techniques and technologies applied to production, harvesting and preservation; build standards for production, processing and product quality in accordance with international economic integration requirements to sharpen the competitiveness and value of Vietnamese rice, vegetable and fruit products to assert these brands in traditional markets and expand market shares in potential markets.

Besides, ministries and agencies will strengthen inspection, supervision and settlement of production violations, especially the use of supplies and raw materials, to ensure safety, traceability and planting region codes and packaging facilities.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade requested relevant ministries and agencies to further perfect policies and mechanisms to attract investment funds, scale up effective incentive policies, support building input areas and scaling up product chains, ensure harmonized interests for people and businesses, and create stable, quality supply sources.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development continues to coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in handling violations in export, import and FTA enforcement committed by businesses and organizations and in settling food safety and other violations or sending matters beyond their competency to relevant bodies.

Vietnam's fruit and vegetable sector has much potential for development and has an important contribution to the country's socio-economic development. With the pledged support from the Government and consistent efforts from relevant stakeholders, the sector will continue to boost exports and contribute to sustainable development goals.

Huong Ly (Vietnam Business Forum)