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Export Strengths for Seafood, Vegetables

The Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (Ipsard) recently held the workshop “Vietnam Agricultural Market Prospects 2017” in Hanoi, to seek outlets for Vietnamese agricultural products and prevent price drops after each good harvest.

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the export value of agriculture, forestry and fisheries grossed US$2.9 billion in March 2017, totalling US$7.6 billion in the first three months, up 7.6 per cent over the same period of 2016. Specifically, key agricultural products brought in US$4.2 billion, up 13.5 per cent year on year. Aquatic and seafood products earned US$1.5 billion, an increase of 3.6 per cent. Exports of key forest products were estimated at US$1.8 billion, up 12.4 per cent.

However, Dr Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, Director of Ipsard, said that the agricultural market in Vietnam has changed substantially, because historically major products rice and livestock will be replaced by fruits, vegetables and seafood to bring more added value for the agricultural sector, particularly when processing industries receive more investment.

His remark was further pronounced as the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and even the Government of Vietnam, had to rescue the livestock industry in general and the pig industry in particular since prices fell disastrously, pushing farmers and breeders to the wall.

Although Vietnam is recognised to have huge potential, strengths and experience in developing and gaining from agriculture with typical products such as rice, pepper, coffee, cocoa, rubber and seafood, its fruits have recently penetrated deeply into high standard markets such as Japan, Europe and Australia. Nevertheless, Vietnam’s inherent weaknesses are still strategy building and market positioning for agricultural products.

Mr Nguyen Trung Kien, Department of Market Research and Industries, Ipsard, analysed that Vietnamese rice is currently facing fierce competition from Thailand and India, two major rice exporters in the world, as well as from new exporters like Cambodia. Due to strict inspections as a result of global protectionism, climate change and poor management capacity, the fisheries industry is also seeing the need for change to emphasize higher added value.

Dr Sergio René Araujo - Ensciso from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) anticipated that the market may move in some trends in 2017: Global agricultural product consumption continues to expand and develop towards higher valued merchandise; while consumption growth will slow down from the past decade. Meanwhile, China, India and Africa will be major markets and drivers of global growth. However, prices of agricultural products tend to decrease slightly in the long run. In addition, productivity growth will be a key driver for food crop production and livestock feed production.

Therefore, according to Mr Le Van Binh, Deputy Director of Economic Department of the Office of the National Assembly, against the backdrop of bilateral and multilateral relations expansion policies, in the coming time, Vietnam needs to make full use of important trade agreements such as FTAs, TPP, RCEP, intra-regional or global cooperation frameworks like APEC and ASEAN, to expand the market for agricultural commodities to a maximum. It should particularly focus, invest and develop fruit, vegetable and seafood markets - key drivers for Vietnam’s agricultural export in the future.


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