Insiders seek ways to iron out agricultural export difficulties

17:34 | 31/03/2015 Trade

Exporters of agro-forestry-fishery products gathered at a meeting with State officials on March 30 to seek ways to address difficulties amid a dramatic fall in the shipment of these commodities during the first quarter.

Insiders seek ways to iron out agricultural export difficulties

From January-March, agro-forestry-fishery exports reached 6.13 billion USD, tumbling 13.2 percent from a year earlier.

Although aquatic exports traditionally contract in the Q1 and rise in the following months, they plummeted 23 percent during the reviewed time - the biggest nosepe in the last five years.

Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Association for Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Nguyen Hoai Nam said shrimp shipments dropped nearly 30 percent and those of tra fish and tuna decreased 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Such dramatic declines were attributable to anti-dumping duties levied on Vietnamese shrimp and tra fish exports in the US, one of the largest markets for Vietnam’s seafood.

Shrimp and tra fish shipments to the US have slumped 44 percent while revenue from exports to the EU and Japan, other traditional major markets, fell respectively by 11 percent and 15 percent.

Nam ascribed the situation to the fact that major aquatic exporters like India and Thailand are harvesting and their currency exchange rates are uncontrolled, disadvantaging Vietnamese firms.

He said the VASEP considers production cost reduction the essential method to cope with the current export obstacles, but is also urging additional assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The coffee industry is also facing export challenges; during the reviewed period, the country shipped 350,000 tonnes of coffee worth 734 million USD abroad, down 41.4 percent in volume and 37.3 percent in value.

The Central Highlands, home to the majority of Vietnam’s coffee growing area, is undergoing a prolonged drought, said the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association, adding that coffee prices are declining, hindering farmers and businesses’ efforts to improve production.

It forecasts coffee export prices will continue to decline.

Pepper sales in the first quarter likewise dropped by 23 percent from the same period last year despite an increase in prices, the Vietnam Pepper Association reported, pointing to the fact that the pepper cultivation area is rapidly expanding and farmers lack cultivation experience.

At the meeting, MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat pledged his ministry will bridge association members with localities applying certified production practices to improve the value of Vietnamese pepper.

Between January and March, the export of outdoor wooden furniture destined for Europe plunged sharply, said Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association Nguyen Ton Quyen.

The same trend was recorded in woodchip shipments to China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (RoK). Notably, the RoK imports of Vietnamese woodchips sank by 29 percent, he noted.

Quyen said though businesses have cooperated with one another to minimise expenses, the MARD needs to issue policies facilitating companies to use domestically-sourced materials.

During the function, associations and businesses requested drastic actions to simplify administrative procedures and agricultural land use taxation.

Meanwhile, Minister Phat urged businesses to step up trade promotion to maintain export growth, adding that the MARD will report their proposals to the Government. He also asked his ministry’s departments to work with associations and companies to seek measures to streamline export procedures.

Source VNA