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Agriculture sector earns nearly US$9 billion from exports

Agriculture sector earns nearly US$9 billion from exports
Author: Thao Le
Publish date: Monday. April 9th, 2018

The agriculture sector has shown optimistic performance right at first months of the year, posting a US$8.7 billion export value of agriculture, forestry and fishery products in the first quarter.

Farm products contributed $4.6 billion to the agriculture sector’s total turnover

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the value rose by 9.6 percent against the same period last year.

Farm products contributed $4.6 billion to the total turnover, a 9 percent year-on-year increase, while seafood and forestry products made up $1.7 billion and $2 billion, up 11.5 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

The ministry reported that up to 524,000 tons of rice were shipped abroad for $261 million in March, raising the total rice export volume in the first three months of the year to 1.36 million tons worth $669 million, representing year-on-year rises of 9.4 percent in volume and 24 percent in value.

China still remained the top importer of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 24.4 percent of the marker share. The country’s rice export value to Iraq and Malaysia also surged sharply by 5.7 times and 2.7 times, respectively. 

According to MARD’s Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan, Vietnam had strong rice exports in the first months of the year. The export price of Vietnamese rice stood at $475 per ton, higher than that of Thailand. The high export price was due to Vietnam increasing the area of growing high-quality rice seeds over the past three to four years to 80 per cent of the total area of rice production.

In the three-month period, cashews were estimated to earn $739 million from 73,000 tons, showing surges of 43.6 percent and nearly 31 percent, respectively from the same period last year. 

The United States, China, and the Netherlands remained the three largest importers of Vietnam’s cashews. 

Vegetables and fruits raked in $934 million, up over 33 percent from the same quarter in 2017. 

The country’s other major farm produce, like coffee, rubber, and peppercorn, however, experienced a decline in export earnings. 

Peppercorn, for example, faced a 37 percent drop in export value, bringing home only $203 million. 

Rubber saw a decrease of nearly 21 percent in export value, earning $403 million for 272,000 tons (which is up by 8.9 percent). 

Up to 520,000 tons of coffee were sold abroad for $1 billion, up by 15.1 percent in volume but down by 1.7 percent in value when compared with the same time last year. 

In the three-month period, the country imported farm, forestry and fishery products worth $6.89 billion, up by 8.4 percent from the same period last year, the ministry said.

MARD targeted a GDP growth and export turnover of 3.05 percent and $40.5 billion this year. To achieve the targets for fisheries, Deputy Minister Tuan said the fishery industry must strengthen public relations activities as well as boost inspection and control to avoid illegal fishing. The ministry expects the European Commission (EC) to withdraw its warning label regarding illegal, unregulated and undeclared (IUU) fishing in Vietnamese seafood exported to the European Union (EU).

Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, director of the Department of Science, Technology and External Cooperation under the General Department of Fisheries, said that the state has acted drastically to eliminate IUU within fishing activities. Efforts included reviewing current regulations and developing more regulations relating while popularizing urgent solutions to prevent IUU fishing among fishermen.

Meanwhile, to promote stabilization and sustainable development in the husbandry industry, the MARD has proposed relevant state offices to cooperate with and support enterprises in the development of chain producing animal products for exports, including solutions on developing systems of slaughtering, processing and distribution of animal products.

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