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Farm exports on the rise despite demand fears

Update: August, 13/2014 - 09:32
Rice is packed at Viet Rice Limited Company in Can Tho Province. The country's rice export turnover from Asian markets is expected to increase this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

HCM CITY (VNS) — Despite concerns about the slump in demand for Vietnamese farm produce in traditional markets like China, the country's exports in the first seven months were worth US$17.5 billion, an increase of 11.8 per cent year-on-year.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, major increases were reported in the exports of coffee, pepper, seafood, and wooden products.

But other items like rice, rubber, tea, and cassava and its products have seen a slump due to a decline in exports to China.

Many items have been sold to the EU, the US, Japan, and South Korea.

Green-skinned pomelo and dragon fruit, for instance, have been shipped to 40 countries and territories around the world.

Last year Viet Nam exported around 326,000 tonnes of dragon fruit for over $200 million. In the first quarter of this year prices of dragon fruit exported to Canada rose by nearly 16 per cent from last year to $2,300 per tonne.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's board for promoting exports of vegetables, flowers and fruits, said to maintain growth in exports of farm produce, local firms must look for new markets while strengthening relations with traditional markets through improving quality by further investing in post-harvest technologies.

"Local businesses should invest in advanced technologies for processing farm produce.

"For example, they can build plants to produce ethanol from cassava and make wood products from shavings instead of importing them."

New technologies have helped increase the value of produce.

Binh Dinh Fishery Joint Stock Company (Bidifishco) exported its first batch of ocean tuna to Japan on August 6. The company's director, Cao Thi Kim Loan, said using advanced Japanese fishing technologies helped fishing vessels catch ocean tuna that meet Japanese market standards.

She added that tuna weighing 40-50kg each would be exported to Japan by air at $8-9 per kilogramme.

By applying CAS technology (which helps preserve fruits for a year while retaining quality), Luc Ngan District in Bac Giang Province has exported over 20 tonnes of lychee to Japan this year.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, exports of farm produce, seafood, and forest produce accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the country's total exports on average.

Rice exports to increase

Viet Nam's rice export turnover from Asian markets will increase this year, boosted by Southern Vietnam Food Corporation (Vinafood 2)'s new contract to sell 200,000 tonnes of rice to Malaysia, according to a recent Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) forecast.

The association predicted that third-quarter rice exports would top 1.9 million tonnes in volume and increase by $2-3 per tonne in price. Turnover excluding the Chinese market would reach 6.3 million tonnes by the end of the year.

During the last 7 months, 3.6 million tonnes of rice were exported. Of the total, 35.9 per cent was 15 per cent broken, 20.2 per cent was 5 per cent broken and 13.4 per cent was 25 per cent broken.

The 25 per cent broken rice cost between $405-415 per tonne, down $5. The price of 5 per cent broken rice fell by $15 per tonne to $445-455 per tonne, equal to rice sold by Thailand and Pakistan and more expensive than that sold by India.

Vietnamese rice exporters had almost no competitors in the Philippines, Indonesia and China since the rice it sold to these markets was mostly average in quality, the VFA said.

Meanwhile, India has focused on exporting to markets where Vietnamese companies have not gained many contracts, such as the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia. — VNS

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