MANILA: According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, 2017 is a pivotal year in the 2016-2020 development plan in the context of the sector still battling many difficulties.
“The sector continues to implement the overall objective of building agriculture into a modern and sustainable sector,” Minister Cuong said, adding that safe agricultural products are a priority in 2017.
High-tech agriculture and safe agriculture were also mentioned by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the “Building Vietnam’s Agriculture and Industry” conference held this month. “Organic agriculture,
clean agriculture, and high-tech agriculture, together with information technology and tourism, are three strengths for Vietnam as the fourth global industrial revolution approaches,” he said.
Recognizing that clean agriculture will develop strongly in Vietnam in the future, many large enterprises not in the field of agriculture are promoting investments in the sector.
Mr. Tran Ba Duong, Chairman of Truong Hai Auto, one of the largest private Vietnamese enterprises, recently announced investment in clean rice using high technology.
Dutch group De Heus signed a contract worth $50 million with local company the Hung Nhon JSC in southern Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai provinces to build a food safety valley to provide clean pork, chicken, eggs, and fruit and vegetables to the market.
Exports of agriculture, forestry and fishery products in 2016 reached $32.1 billion, an increase of 6 per cent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Seafood, coffee, rubber, pepper, cashew nuts, vegetables, and wood and wooden products all saw export value exceed $1 billion. Coffee increased 25.5 per cent, cashew nuts 18.3 per cent, pepper 12.7 per cent, and rubber 10.6 per cent.
Wood and wooden product exports, meanwhile, increased by a mere 1 per cent, to $7.3 billion this year. Rice exports saw a downturn, with 1.62 million tons in volume and $600 million in value.
This was the first time fruit and vegetable export turnover exceeded crude oil, which has been the country’s strategic export item for many years. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, exports of fruit and vegetables stood at $2.3 to $2.4 billion, with fruit accounting for nearly 74 per cent.
Export growth was also recorded in difficult markets such as Japan, the US, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Australia, and South Korea.
Though not standing out, seafood still proved to be a key export item, with export value of $7 billion, up 6.9 per cent year-on-year. The US, Japan, China and South Korea were the four leading importers of Vietnamese seafood, accounting for 54.1 per cent of total export value.