14:33 | 25/09/2016 Trade
(VEN) - Resolving difficulties facing agricultural exports is a major task for the agricultural sector, since its export value showed negative growth in the first seven months of this year.
Businesses need to improve the quality of agricultural products
At a recent meeting with associations and businesses, the Steering Committee for Agricultural Marketing under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said rice and cassava topped the list of export decline. Low import demand led also to decreases in the export value of other products such as tea, seafood, and bamboo-made handicrafts.
In the first seven months, cassava exports reached 2.31 million tonnes worth US$616 million, down 19 percent in volume and 28.3 percent in value compared with the same period last year. China remained a major importer of Vietnamese cassava, accounting for 86.1 percent of total exports, down 23.5 percent in volume and 33 percent in value.
Given the dependence on the Chinese market, rice exports have faced various difficulties due to the absence of big export contracts since the beginning of the year and the pressure of Thai rice clearance sales on export prices of Vietnamese rice. “Importers currently have high demand for quality, high-priced rice while there is no position for Vietnamese rice in major markets such as the US, the EU, and even Japan,” said Vietnam Food Association President Huynh The Nang.
Seafood exports have also faced numerous difficulties. Shrimp exports to Australia have to undergo strict quarantine examinations while the export price of tra fish has dropped. Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Secretary General Truong Dinh Hoe worried on the oversupply of tra fish in the context of weak demand in EU. He predicted the recovery of demand for tra fish imports in September and October, but the annual export value could hardly reach last year’s result.
Trade barriers are big hindrances to Vietnamese agricultural exports. This year, China has tightened management over imports via unofficial channels, leading to the stagnancy of many kinds of agricultural products at border crossings. In the last two months, Vietnamese cassava could not be sold to China via border crossings in Lang Son Province. Vietnam needs to take sound measures to deal with this problem.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said the MARD would intensify trade promotion to boost rice exports to traditional markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Africa. Suitable action will be taken to cope with technical barriers such as those imposed by the US on Vietnamese tra fish and tea exports. The MARD will send a delegation to the US this November to persuade the US Lower House to vote for the Upper House’s resolution on the termination of the catfish inspection program mandated by the US’ Farm Bills.
Along with dealing with export difficulties, agricultural businesses need to promote domestic sales by launching high quality products, according to the MARD.