Nov 12, 2021 / 10:57

Vietnam farm businesses step up production to meet global demands by year-end

Diversification of export markets and higher product quality helped Vietnam maintain the agricultural sector’s resilience against the pandemic and continue its upward trend.

Local businesses in fields of agro-forestry-fishery are stepping up production to meet contract deadlines and growing demands from major exports markets during the year-end period.

 Processing seafood for exports. Photo: Giang Lam

For the first 10 months of 2021, Vietnam’s agricultural exports rose by 13.1% year-on-year to US$38.7 billion, staying short of the $44-billion target set for the year with two months left.

Director of Vrice Company Phan Van Co said rice prices in both domestic and international markets are rising given the high demands from key markets in Asia.

“We are expanding production to meet the deadline in the remaining period of the year,” Co told The Hanoi Times.

General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association (VinaFruit) Dang Phuc Nguyen noted while the Covid-19 pandemic has caused difficulties to vegetable and fruit exports, there has been a significant rise in export growth into markets in Europe, Southeast Asia, or the Middle East.

“The positive news is that Vietnam has gradually reduced its export dependence on the Chinese market with the export share declining from 70% to 58%,” he added.

Meanwhile, the US has emerged as Vietnam’s largest export market with an export turnover of $10.8 billion during the January-October period, significantly higher than the $7.5 billion earned from China.

Vietnam is also the 11th largest supplier of rubber products to the US with over 30,000 tons, a surge of 90% year on year, while the export of vegetables, fruits, rice, seafood, or wooden products to the US and Europe have witnessed a sharp increase.

In this case, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan noted a diversification in export markets and higher product quality helped maintain the agricultural sector’s resilience against the pandemic and continue its upward trend by contributing 15% of Vietnam’s total exports.

Hoan, however, acknowledged challenging issues remain for the sector, including the uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, high logistics costs, and stricter quality control process at import markets.

A report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast the world’s economy would expand by 5.9% in 2021, a significant improvement from a contraction of 3.1% last year, which in turn would further facilitate the resumption of global supply chains.

In this context, Vietnam with a network of 17 free trade agreements (FTAs) could further see stronger growth in agricultural exports, especially as countries are stockpiling farm produce by the year-end period.

To further support local businesses to recover and expand production, Minister Hoan said the ministry is committed to working closely with provinces/cities and business associations to address issues of the supply chains and promote trade activities.

Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai expected Vietnam to further penetrate new markets as part of the diversification efforts, including Peru, Brazil, or Russia.

“The Ministry of Industry and Trade along with Vietnam’s missions abroad would continue to assist local businesses to better understand market situations or any changes in customers behavior and market regulations,” Hai said.

“The priority is for Vietnamese companies to effectively take advantage of FTAs, such as the EVFTA, UKVFTA, or the upcoming RCEP,” he said.