HA NOI — Viet Nam has great potential for agricultural exports, and the local exporters have pledged to standardise its cultivation and production processes in order to raise the product quality ahead recent complaints of importers about the substandard quality.
High-quality agricultural cultivation will soon be expanded in response to some importers' warning of hygiene and food safety of Vietnamese products.
Nearly 600 tonnes of honey had been returned to Viet Nam when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found it contaminated by carbenzamin, a kind of fungicide, reported Sai Gon Dau Tu (Investment Sai Gon) newspaper.
Analysts warned over an export reduction in honey to the US, the largest importer of the local product.
Vietnamese honey was banned from the EU due to dissimilarities in the legal framework and safety monitoring.
In addition, local fruit and vegetable exporters have faced EU complaints over Vietnamese goods not satisfying good agricultural products (GAP) standards.
Nguyen Van Tinh, director of Minh Giang Agricultural Product Processing, said Viet Nam had great advantage in tropical fruits, preferred by markets in China, Thailand, the US, Japan, and the EU. However, export volume has declined with these products now mainly exported to Thailand and China.
The European Commission recently told Viet Nam that if there were five more batches of goods found to be substandard, the bloc would consider halting the import of domestic fruit and vegetables altogether.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam will likely gain modest growth in farm exports this year.
"Although some quarantine regulations are unreasonable, it is essential for local companies to co-operate with beekeepers and researchers in order to produce quality export products," said Nguyen Van Niem, deputy director of the Central Honey Co.
In addition, Vietnamese officials should work with import countries to remove unreasonable requirements set by importers.
Nguyen Nhu Tiep, director of the National Agro Forestry and Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD), said the department would deal with substandard goods exports by strengthening control and testing.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been talking with importers to reduce irrational regulations on Vietnamese agricultural products. In addition, customs officials only implement clearance procedures for agricultural exports with certificates of quarantine.
Analysts said that for long-term development and sustainability, companies should transfer standardised aquaculture technologies to farmers. At the same time, they had to update and apply international standards to all processes from cultivation to final products.
Agricultural exports achieved record growth last year, up 33.2 per cent compared to the previous year with a total turnover of US$13.7 billion. — VNS