Agricultural sector set target of achieving export target of over 41 billion USD

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The coronavirus outbreak created obstacles to production and trade. Severe natural disasters such as drought and saltwater intrusion, especially in the Mekong Delta, along with plant and animal diseases posed further challenges to the sector this year.

Most key agricultural exports posted declines in the early months of 2020.

Facing that fact, the agricultural sector has conducted policies flexibly in order to fulfil export targets, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said, noting that it has made use of every possible opportunity in all markets.

Thanks to that, agro-forestry-fishery exports are forecast to surpass the targeted 41 billion USD this year. Exports to nearly 200 markets, including large markets such as the US, the EU, Japan, and China, earned Vietnam second place in Southeast Asia and 15th in the world in terms of agro-forestry-fishery exports, he said.

The sector has also managed to pave the way for different fruit to enter new markets, like fresh lychee in Japan and pomelo in Chile.

Notably, he said, rice continues to record strong increases in exports. The Mekong Delta, the largest agricultural hub in Vietnam, reaped a bumper rice harvest despite the historic drought, thanks to crop rescheduling. Surging food demand amid COVID-19 also provided Vietnam with the opportunity to boost rice exports.

Strong demand from a host of markets fuelled rising export prices for Vietnamese husked rice, which are now around 500 USD per tonne. Free trade deals, especially the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), have also opened up more opportunities for the commodity.

Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien said that as soon as the Prime Minister approved the EVFTA implementation plan, the ministry built an action programme for the agricultural sector.

As a result, right from the first month the trade pact took effect, in August, shipments of agro-forestry-fishery products to the EU grew 15-17 percent against a year earlier, he said, adding that the sector has maintained its focus on traditional markets like China, the US, and Japan.

Wood product exports have continually accounted for some 30 percent of the agricultural sector’s total overseas shipments but were not immune from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFOREST), Do Xuan Lap, said businesses have strived to seek new ways in the face of the pandemic’s complex developments.

Not only selling products directly to consumers or promoting goods at fairs, enterprises have also swiftly moved to online platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon. They have also tried to become more interconnected and cut any dependence on external partners, according to Lap.

He expects that forestry products will see the strongest export growth among all commodities in the agricultural sector this year, with revenue topping 12.6 billion USD, up 11.5 percent year-on-year./.


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