Vietnam, New Zealand foster agriculture economies following COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnam and New Zealand affirmed their commitment to deepening the two countries’ agriculture and trade relationship at the second Vietnam - New Zealand Agricultural Dialogue held virtually on April 6.

The sides underlined that in order to realise the goal of lifting two-way trade turnover to US$2 billion by 2024, increasing bilateral agricultural cooperation and connections between the two countries is key.

At the ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said: “Both countries are strong agriculture producers and exporters, with complementary products. The Vietnam - New Zealand Agricultural Dialogue will boost our connections, cooperation and two-way trade, in line with what our two Prime Ministers highlighted in the Strategic Partnership Joint Statement.”

Vietnam remains a promising market for New Zealand and vice versa due to robust demand for key agricultural products.

Vietnam’s agro-forestry-aquatic product export and import turnover to New Zealand hit US$549.2 million in 2021, posting a year-on-year growth of 11%. The country has exported mango, dragon fruit and rambutan, and is working to ship lime, pomelo and passion fruit to New Zealand.

Of note, Doanh proposed that the New Zealand side help Vietnam to build a supply chain for dragon fruit, as the Southeast Asian nation is the world's largest producer and exporter of the fruit.

For his part, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries Ray Smith emphasised that this is the opportunity for both sides to consider how the countries can work together to build resilience and vitality in their agriculture economies following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sides committed to enhancing bilateral trade, reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, promoting food safety, utilising agriculture research and technology, and in rural development.

The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries is supporting agriculture cooperation with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) with activities in plant health, veterinary epidemiology and electronic certification.

These activities complement New Zealand’s ongoing development programme, which has a number of agriculture projects including the premium fruit development project in Tien Giang, the rural dam safety project in the central region, and the safe vegetables project in Binh Dinh. 

Smith also reaffirmed that New Zealand will keep assisting the MARD’s greenhouse gas inventory capability through the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and New Zealand topped US$1.56 billion last year, an increase of 14%, and by last December, Vietnam was New Zealand’s 15th largest trading partner.