During the ministry's regular press conference on reviewing the sector's first nine-month business results, Pham Cong Dung, head of the ministry's Department of Processing and Trade of Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Products and Salt Production, said the agricultural sector set a target of US$32 billion in export value this year.
However, an increase in the price of the US dollar, changes in the foreign exchange rates of several strong currencies – particularly Euros – which detrimentally affected export businesses and high inventory of agricultural products of Viet Nam's key importers all posed difficulties for the country's exports.
In the first nine months of this year, the total export turnover of farming, forestry and fishery products was estimated at nearly $21.7 billion, down 5 per cent from the same period last year.
Of which, exports of major agricultural and seafood products were valued at $10.3 billion and $4.7 billion, down 7.2 per cent and 17.8 per cent, respectively, while the export value of wood and forest products reached $5.03 billion, a year-on-year rise of 6.6 per cent.
By the end of this year, the ministry will also organise more trade promotion activities and continue negotiations towards market openings for several agricultural products, such as dragon fruit to Japan and chicken to Russia.
It will review traditional export markets to promote exports to those, according to the ministry. It will also reduce fees and charges of the agricultural sectors to solve difficulties in administrative procedures for export activities.
Optimism in TPP deal
Meanwhile, Dung hoped that the completion of negotiations and the signing of free trade agreements and the Trans-Pacific Partnership would help increase the national agro, forestry and fishery exports in the near future.
Also at the press conference, MARD Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan said that the trade deal, once effective, will help Viet Nam expand consumption markets for its farm produce and ease its dependence on traditional but fluctuant ones like China.
The TPP will enable Viet Nam to adjust its import-export market structure in the agriculture, Tuan noted.
Seafood and wood products will gain a lot of competitive advantages as taxes imposed on all agricultural products will be eliminated shortly after the deal comes into effect, he said.
With tax incentives stipulated in the pact, Viet Nam is expected to welcome a significant flow of investments into the farming sector, thus speeding up the country's agricultural restructuring.
However, the agricultural sector is forecast to face a spectrum of challenges, especially in consumption of farming products, as it is mainly driven by household-based businesses with out-of-date technologies, Tuan said.
The official suggested the sector revamp its apparatus, and called for joint efforts from managers, farmers and businesses.
Viet Nam will have the chance to buy modern livestock rearing methods and good quality breeds from other TPP members, helping advance the country's livestock sector, Nguyen Xuan Duong, deputy head of the Department of Animal Husbandry, said.
The domestic agricultural sector has a low yield, leading to low competitiveness, Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Viet Nam Centre for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) said. Therefore, Viet Nam must improve productivity of its agricultural sector for sustainable development in the future.
He said technology with regard to agricultural production should be improved because the TPP includes environment commitments and Vietnamese farmers must change their habits in agricultural production to reach international environment standards, reported zing.vn.
Viet Nam should also focus on intensive production for farming products with advantages in competitiveness and business, he said. — VNS