Agro-forestry-fishery sector seeks new export opportunities

06:00 | 15/05/2020 Trade

(VEN) - The Covid-19 pandemic is a major upheaval, but also an opportunity for the agro-forestry-fishery sector to diversify export markets, avoiding dependence on traditional markets.

agro forestry fishery sector seeks new export opportunities

Adapting to new situation

The Mekong Delta province of Long An’s dragon fruit growing area covers 14,000ha, which produces about 400,000 tonnes of dragon fruit every year. Local dragon fruits are mainly exported to China and the Republic of Korea (RoK). However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, dragon fruit exports to China have declined by 80 percent. Nguyen Quoc Trinh, chair of the Long An Dragon Fruit Association, said dragon fruit consumption in the RoK has also encountered difficulties as almost RoK citizens don’t go to supermarkets.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, chair and CEO of the Vina T&T Group, said the group currently only exports coconut, longan and durian to the American and European markets because these fruit have a long preservation time, while other exports have almost stopped.

In such a difficult context, many businesses have found new ways to promote their growth. Phan Minh Thong, board chair and general director of the Phuc Sinh Group, said the group has diversified markets by promoting exports to the EU, North America and the Middle East, and focused on small- and medium-sized enterprises. As a result, the group’s export growth increased by 120-130 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to a year ago.

Nguyen Manh Hung, board chair of the Nafoods Group, said the group has implemented a series of solutions to promote its growth. In particular, the board chair has personally sent letters to customers all over the world and suppliers, urging understanding and cooperation.

Taking advantage of opportunities

Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy secretary-general of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said the Covid-19 pandemic not only poses difficulties but also offers opportunities. Within three to five months, for example, consumer culture could shift from buying fresh goods to canned and frozen items. In other words, the disruption of foreign supply sources offers an opportunity for Vietnamese agricultural products.

Vietnam Trade Counselor in Singapore Tran Thu Quynh said the Vietnam Trade Office in Singapore has connected industry associations of the host country with Vietnam, while proposing that Vietnam Airlines also supports export activity. In March, the trade agency arranged more than 20 export orders from Vietnam, estimated at around 500 tonnes of goods.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, China has basically brought the pandemic under control. Import-export activities between the two countries are no longer restricted, offering opportunities for Vietnam to promote exports to China. In addition, incentives provided by free trade agreements are expected to contribute to promoting Vietnam’s exports.

Nguyen Hanh