Agricultural sector strives to attain growth target

16:18 | 06/08/2017 Economy- Society

(VEN) - According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the agricultural sector grew 2.65 percent in the first half of the year, and is striving to achieve a targeted annual GDP growth target of 3.05 percent by year’s end.  

Fisheries rebound

The agricultural sector’s GDP growth of 2.65 percent was the highest level recorded in the first half of the year compared to the past two years. It consisted of 2.01 percent growth of agriculture, 4.31 percent in forestry and 5.08 percent in fisheries.

Fisheries recorded the sector’s highest growth due to favorable weather conditions. It also benefited from the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and local authorities for recovering production capabilities and getting compensation for damages caused in the Formosa incident in four central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue. Aquaculture production reached an estimated 1.64 million tonnes in the first half of the year, fulfilling 54.8 percent of the yearly plan.

Livestock production faced many difficulties in the first half of the year, especially pig breeding. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has coordinated with ministries, departments and localities to implement measures to curb the oversupply that resulted in steep price drops.

Hoang Thanh Van, director of the Department of Livestock Production, said the production capacity can increase by 10 percent if outlets are found for product consumption. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen trade promotion activities and seek export markets.

Challenging growth target

At the first half-year review conference, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the agricultural sector needs to make efforts to complete this year’s growth target of 3.05 percent.

According to Nguyen Xuan Cuong, the agricultural sector achieved a high GDP growth of 3.3 percent in 2014 thanks to a breakthrough in seafood exports. However, 2015 GDP growth dropped to 2.36 percent and to 1.36 percent the following year. The biggest challenge until the end of the year will be handling the natural disasters that occur in the rainy season.

In addition, traditional export markets are posing difficulties for Vietnam. For example, the application of the US Farm Bill will greatly hurt Vietnamese catfish exports, while the EU has warned about some risks related to food safety of Vietnamese seafood. Therefore, if there are no drastic solutions to stabilize and expand new markets, seafood exports will face an upstream course.

Nguyen Ngoc Oai, deputy general director of the Directorate of Fisheries, said dealing with the implications of the American Farm Bill will be one of the key tasks in the remaining months of the year. The fishery sector is targeting shrimp exports of 675,000 tonnes by the end of the year, with export turnover of US$3.2-3.5 billion.

Agricultural restructuring is still the most important issue. Sectors must review planning to make timely adjustments to changing circumstances. Although agricultural restructuring to expand production scale has been under way for four years, a review is needed of planning and restructuring measures to ensure they are compatible with market signals.

Nguyen Xuan Cuong asked the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority to formulate specific plans and programs for each sector. “In the immediate future, the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority must urgently coordinate with the Department of Livestock Production and the Department of Animal Health to organize a forum on chicken exports in Ho Chi Minh City and a forum on encouraging pork exports,” Nguyen Xuan Cuong said.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong emphasized that large-scale production and export market expansion are the two issues requiring speedy implementation to help facilitate the agricultural sector’s GDP growth target of 3.05 percent this year.

Nguyen Hanh