Increasing technology in processing agricultural products for export

VCN - With abundant raw materials, the export food processing industry still has a lot of room and potential for development.
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There are not many production-processing-consumption chains

Statistics show that Vietnam's agricultural products and processed foods are now in over 180 countries and territories. At the same time, many industries in this field have contributed more than USD 1 billion to the annual export turnover; especially seafood has contributed more than USD 10 billion to the total export turnover of Vietnam. It can be said that with abundant raw materials, the food processing industry still has a lot of room and potential for development. The Prime Minister issued Decision No. 493/QD-TTg approving the Strategy for Import and Export of Goods to 2030, which sets export orientations for groups of agricultural, forestry and fishery products that need to increase the proportion of deeply processed products with high economic value, improving the ability to meet regulations and quality standards. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, despite the great competitiveness in the export market, most of Vietnam's agricultural, forestry and fishery products are still exported mainly raw products and through unofficial channels.

Talking about this issue, Mr Truong Van Thanh, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Director of Nhu Hoang Agricultural-Service-Trading Cooperative (Binh Phuoc), said that the cooperative specializes in the production and export of salted roasted cashews and products of the cooperative met the standards of HACCP, ISO 9001: 2015, OCOP 4 stars of Binh Phuoc province. However, in the first months of the year, there were not many export orders, so Cooperatives mainly exported raw products to the Chinese market.

In Hai Duong province, there are more than 12,000 agricultural product processing establishments; however, the current production organization is mainly household, and small-scale accounts for 98% of production facilities, the connection between production and consumption is not tight. In addition, processing enterprises are few, so they have not created a strong motivation to develop processing and have not formed a wide range of production - processing - consumption of products along the value chain, so production is unstable and ineffective.

Limitations are also seen because the food industry requires large investments in scientific and technological research, engineering and construction of technical and technological infrastructure. The form of production organization is mainly household and small-scale; the number of processing establishments applying product quality management standards is small, and it is not yet difficult to meet the requirements of food hygiene and safety. Modern and advanced machinery and equipment in production are limited. Moreover, businesses have not yet boldly invested in the agro-food processing industry; many establishments lack the capital to invest in production expansion.

To attract investment in the food industry, Hai Duong province has focused on completing the renovation and upgrading of provincial roads; water supply, drainage and environmental sanitation systems; electricity system and system of technical infrastructure, social infrastructure, services outside the fence of industrial parks and industrial clusters; increase the stability of the supply of electricity, water, telecommunications, and transport infrastructure.

At the same time, there are preferential policies for high-tech, biotechnology, and information technology projects, such as land use fee exemption and reduction, labour training funding support, interest rate support, loans, and construction costs. In addition, apply the lowest land rent coefficient within the framework prescribed by the Provincial People's Committee when calculating land rent for enterprises; or promote administrative procedure reform, improve the quality of administrative procedures settlement of departments, branches and localities.

According to Mr Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the reality of the agricultural and food processing industry is still limited. Although export results in recent years have been very high, according to Decision 174/QD-TTg, by 2025, Vietnam's export value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products will reach about USD50-51 billion. This is because the results in 2022 have exceeded this target, but the processing component is still very low. Therefore, the main goal in the coming period is to promote mechanization and increase investment in high-tech production lines to bring out quality products to meet market requirements. At the same time, focusing on post-harvest, post-harvest preservation, infrastructure, and quality management of agricultural products after processing.

Agriculture needs high technology

Pham Thi Dao, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Hai Duong province, said that for the agricultural and food processing industry to have a breakthrough, it is necessary to have more feasible policies and mechanisms for individuals, households, cooperatives, small and medium enterprises investing in agriculture can access loans and concessional loans from credit institutions. At the same time, there are large and reputable enterprises investing in Hai Duong in processing agricultural products for export and domestic consumption or investing in direct production in the fields of cultivation, husbandry, aquaculture, and high-tech agricultural production to spread and replicate in the province.

Mr Le Thanh Hoa said that the Government, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade had had many orientations in investment in processing agricultural, forestry and fishery products over the past time. The main goal is to complete the entire production, processing and export chain to add value to Vietnam's agricultural products. For example, although there are many outstanding results in the seafood processing sector, it is necessary to restructure to meet market requirements and FTAs set forth for sustainable development and conservation of resources. The wood processing industry has a very strong commitment to ensuring the legality, as well as the requirements of high-end markets in certifying wood origin, in addition to promoting the mechanization of the agricultural sector. "Currently, many fields still use much labour, making the price of agricultural products higher than in other countries. Mechanization will promote production stages, reduce labour costs, and improve the competitiveness of exported goods," emphasized Mr Lê Thanh Hòa and said that the target of additional value for the agricultural product processing industry will reach over 8% by 2025 and 10% by 2030; 60% of the export value of key agricultural products is processed products.

By Ngoc Linh/Bui Diep

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