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Agriculture exports reap marginal gains

Update: May, 02/2013 - 09:34
Planks being produced by Hoang Duc Linh Company in central Quang Tri Province's Dong Le Industrial Zone. The increase of farm, forest and aquatic product exports was thanks to increased demand for rice, pepper, cashews, tea and timber products. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

HA NOI (VNS)— Exports of farm, forest and aquatic products reached US$8.67 billion in the first four months of this year, an increase of 0.4 per cent over the same period last year.

Tthe Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has reported that the export value of major farm produce declined 6.2 per cent to $4.5 billion, and aquatic products fell by 4.6 per cent to about $1.7 billion.

Forest products, assessed by the ministry as one of the most promising exports this year, saw export turnover amount to nearly $1.7 billion, up 14.5 per cent.

Exports of the products declined by more than 10 per cent in Germany, but expanded in most other major markets: 8.6 per cent in the US, 18 per cent in Japan and 50 per cent in South Korea.

Ministry official Nguyen Viet Chien said the general increase was thanks to gains in export quantities of rice, pepper, cashews, tea and timber products. There were declines in most major farm products.

In the first four months, rice export volume was up 7.6 per cent at nearly 2.4 million tonnes, but value was down 0.2 per cent to $1 billion, with the average rice export price declining 12.4 per cent year-on-year at $445 per tonne.

Values increased sharply for rice exports to the Phillipines, at 560 per cent, and Angola, at 256 per cent. China continued to be the largest consumer of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 41.7 per cent of the total export value.

Rubber exports reached 234,000 tonnes, down 13 per cent year-on-year, with a total value of $610 million, a decline of 24.2 per cent. Export prices averaged nearly $2,700 per tonne over the period, or 8.7 per cent lower than for the same period last year.

China also remained the largest market for Vietnamese rubber, buying nearly 47 per cent of total domestic rubber exports, but the volume and value sold to this market this year declined 20.3 per cent and 22.4 per cent, respectively.

Coffee export volumes declined 13.4 per cent to 608,000 tonnes, causing turnover to fall by 11 per cent to $1.3 billion, although average export prices rose by 4.4 per cent year-on-year to about $2,160 per tonne.

Germany and the US remained the largest markets for coffee, taking 13 per cent and 11.6 per cent, respectively, of the total exports.

The aquaculture industry was still struggling with export revenues totalling just $1.7 billion in the first four months, a decline of 4.6 per cent over the same period last year.

Aquatic product export turnover grew 50.2 per cent to China and 23.7 per cent to Thailand, but there were declining sales by the three largest consumers.

The US market fell by 4.2 per cent, the Japanese market by 6.3 per cent, and the South Korean market by 24.5 per cent.

Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development official Nguyen Do Anh Tuan said the decline of many farm exports was partly due to problems related to product quality and processing. For example, many farmers lacked standard storage facilities.

Coffee, rubber and tea exports were mostly lower-priced raw products.

"The risk of domestic enterprises becoming more passive will be greater if we don't have systematic strategies for farm produce trading and export," Tuan said, urging the agriculture industry to pay more attention to enhancing product quality rather than quantity.

Nguyen Huu Dung, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said that the Government should accelerate trade and business promotion and slash administrative procedures to boost competitive advantages. — VNS


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