Agricultural export surplus maintained

15:34 | 10/01/2014 Trade

(VEN) - The global economy’s long recession in recent years has seen consumer demand decline, leading to decreases in agricultural product prices, while trade protection trends have continued to grow and climate change continues to complicate cultivation - all these factors have had a direct impact on Vietnam’s agriculture. Despite these factors, the total export value of Vietnamese agricultural, forest and aquatic products in 2013 reached an estimated US$27.5 billion, a rise of 0.7 percent compared with 2012, with a trade surplus exceeding US$8.5 billion.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that last year posed unfavorable conditions for Vietnam to promote both domestic sale and the export of agricultural products. Demand and prices for agricultural products on the world market continuously decreased from mid-2012 due to the slow economic recovery and low purchasing power in the EU, the US and Japan, which are major importers of Vietnamese agricultural products.

Most agricultural exports such as rice, coffee, cassava and tra fish decreased in terms of volume and value compared with 2012. In addition it was difficult to boost domestic sales due to a decline in purchasing power and competition due to smuggled products such as pork, poultry and sugar.

Dealing with the high inventories and strong decreases in the prices of some agricultural products such as rice, tra fish, pork and poultry, MARD requested the government to issue policies which offered farmers support to help them overcome their difficulties and ensure their interests. The agricultural sector has taken the initiative in coordinating with other sectors, ministries and localities to deal with both temporary and long-term problems which faced farmers and agricultural businesses.

Thanks to these efforts, the market showed positive changes towards the year’s end. The export of seafood, wood products and forest products sharply increased; the prices of many kinds of agricultural products such as rice, shrimp, tra fish and pork in both domestic and foreign markets rapidly grew. The total export value of the entire agricultural sector reached an estimated US$27.5 billion, a rise of 0.7 percent compared with 2012, with a trade surplus reaching over US$8.5 billion. Specifically, the export value of seafood reached US$6.7 billion, up 10.6 percent; timber and wood products US$5.5 billion, up 17.8 percent; fruit and vegetables up 25.7 percent, and shrimp US$3 billion, up 25 percent.

The domestic sale and export of agricultural products are predicted to face continued difficulties in the time to come. MARD said that in 2014 it would concentrate on intensifying the management of the quality of agricultural, forest and aquatic products and salt through the implementation of a plan which was issued together with Prime Ministerial Decision 809/QD-TTg dated May 30, 2011; building, upgrading testing facilities to meet international standards.

“Along with providing consumers with information about food safety, the agricultural sector will continue to deal with technical barriers to the export of agricultural, forest and aquatic products while at the same time strictly controlling the import of products of animal, plant origin in order to prevent substandard goods from entering the Vietnamese market,” a report from MARD indicated.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat confirmed that in 2014 the agricultural sector would continue to implement its action plan for international economic integration in the 2011-2015 period as well as commitments and international agreements which Vietnam had signed, and get ready to make the most of the opportunities presented by the trade agreements which Vietnam has joined. In addition, the sector will actively seek financial support from international organizations, foreign countries and non-governmental organizations, put in place policies which are suitable with international commitments and practices, and improve the effectiveness of trade promotion activities along with efforts to expand the market for domestic agricultural, forest and aquatic products.     

In 2013, the entire agricultural sector implemented Resolution 1/NQ-CP and Resolution 02/NQ-CP dated January 7, 2013 regarding major solutions to implement the socioeconomic development plan and state budget estimates for 2013, along with implementing a restructuring plan aimed at increasing the added value and promoting the sustainable development of the agricultural sector, which was approved by the Prime Minister via Decision 899/QD-TTg dated June 10, 2013.

Tien Dung