In the first two months of this year, Vietnam earned nearly US$3 billion from exporting agricultural, forestry, and aquatic products, up 9.7% from last year and making up 12.5% of the total export revenue. Cashew nuts, rice, and coffee are among the items with the greatest expected rise in export volume.
This year Vietnam’s farm produce exports are said to boom due to market demands and the impacts of free trade agreements between Vietnam and partners.
Vietnam’s main export markets are the US, the EU, China, and Africa. The key market is the US, which is forecast to rise strongly. Exports of vegetables and fruits in particular have grown, with possible revenues of US$2 billion by the end of this year.
Nguyen Van Bich, a market analyst, suggests several ways to ensure exports to demanding markets like the US, the EU, and Japan.
“The first and foremost thing we should do now is restructure agricultural production and make more accurate market forecasts. Vietnam has 11 major agricultural export items but many of them have found it hard to grow any further, so we need to identify new agricultural products of high potential and competitiveness", said Bich.
"For example, bananas could reach US$1 billion in revenue. Vegetables could also earn billions of US dollar in profits. As far that I know Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore have a high demand for imported Vietnamese vegetables", he noted.
Vietnam’s agricultural exports are facing challenges. In addition to quality and food safety barriers, certifying product origin is a headache for Vietnamese producers and exporters.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have stepped up planning and building specialized material production zones and diversifying products. Farmers and businesses are working hard to turn out qualified items that meet food hygiene and safety standards.
Economist Vu Dinh Anh said both hard currency earners and potential export products should focus on two things.
First, they should choose either quality or quantity. Second, they should develop a brand for every agricultural export item", Dinh Anh added.