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Towards stronger export of agricultural products in 2022

13:25 | 05/01/2022

VCN - Exceeding many previous forecasts, in 2021, the export of agriculture, forestry and fishery products reached a record of US$48.6 billion, much higher than the target of US$42 billion assigned by the Government. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Le Minh Hoan said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was consulting with Vietnamese embassies and Trade Offices abroad to develop a sustainable agricultural product export scheme.

Sleepless nights for Lang Son customs officers due to customs clearances of agricultural products Sleepless nights for Lang Son customs officers due to customs clearances of agricultural products
Digital transformation is Digital transformation is "key" for sustainable agricultural development
Actively clearing the way for exporting agricultural products Actively clearing the way for exporting agricultural products
  Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Le Minh Hoan.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Le Minh Hoan.

What is the reason for the whole industry gaining impressive export results of agriculture, forestry and fishery in the year 2021?

In August and September 2021, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Southern provinces had to implement social distancing measures, and the commodity chain was broken. Difficulties in production, transportation and processing caused the distribution system to be halted and the market broken. At that time, it was difficult to imagine how the agricultural industry would surpass and fulfil the target, not to mention a new record in the export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products.

However, thanks to the dynamism and quick adaptation in the management of the agricultural sector from the Central to local levels, the efforts of enterprises and people, as well as the participation of associations, the industry managed to maintain the supply chain.

In addition, the special working groups of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have implemented many appropriate initiatives and solutions to help farmers sell products, and help enterprises have enough raw materials for processing.

As each locality has different regulations in pandemic prevention and control, the connection and coordination role of the Working Groups is very important, thereby bringing about common results, affirming the "supporting" role of the agricultural industry.

As a result, in 2021, the group of agricultural, forestry and fishery products exported a value of US$48.6 billion.

Which event of the agricultural industry left the deepest impression on the industry in 2021?

The biggest factor for the agricultural industry in the past year was the disruption of the value chain of industries due to the lack of consistency in the implementation of social distancing and pandemic prevention and control orders by localities.

The second factor is that the price of input materials, from fertilizers, plant protection drugs to veterinary drugs have all increased. Because of the high price of raw materials, both export and import values increased because Vietnam imports mainly inputs in agricultural production.

Those factors show that the supply chain of agriculture has not been a focus, cutting the link between production and the market. From central to local management agencies, they mainly direct production, but have not paid attention to market promotion, and have not paid attention to investment in logistics chains both domestically and abroad.

Besides, the increasing prices of agricultural materials shows that in the post-pandemic period, global markets can be unstable. Due to the disruption of the global value chain, agriculture has high output and high costs. We have to accept the fact that the added value is not proportional to the growth figures in the export value of agricultural products.

On the basis of the export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products in 2021, how has the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development been building solutions towards a more sustainable export in the future?

I have travelled to many European countries and realized that the export value of Vietnam's agricultural products over the years has increased but is unsustainable and spontaneous. That is mainly due to the dynamism of enterprises connecting to foreign markets to bring goods, but there is no sustainable export strategic plan for each type of market.

Most products exported to foreign markets are for the Asians living in that country, but have not penetrated into major distribution systems in other countries. Therefore, although the export value increases rapidly, it is not sustainable. For example, the price of Vietnamese longan and lychee on the shelves in Japan and the US is high, but in fact, logistics costs account for the majority of the cost.

Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is consulting with Vietnamese embassies and Trade Offices abroad, and in the immediate future, the EU and China, to develop a sustainable agricultural product export project, not to wait until the new season to collect agricultural products for export, but create a standardized raw material area. Starting from the local raw material area, farmers standardize the cultivation process and use fertilizers and pesticides in accordance with the requirements of the export market. Enterprises and logistics units must also participate in creating more competitive value.

In the near future, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will build an alliance of agricultural product exporters, for the first time with the participation of logistics enterprises to coordinate to reduce intermediary costs.

By Thanh Nguyen/ Binh Minh