Vietnam is and must remain one of the world leading agriculture exporters, said officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at a recent sales promotion event in Ho Chi Minh City.
Businesses in the agriculture segment excel at growing, producing and exporting a wide variety of agriculture produce such as rice, fruit and vegetables to a vast array of foreign countries, they noted.
However, if agriculture is to thrive and continue to be a source of prosperity and jobs then it must be able to sell in expanding markets around the globe and – vice versa – products from other countries must be allowed entry into Vietnam.
This, said the officials, is why the Vietnam government has signed on to a series of bilateral and free trade agreements and instituted other initiatives aimed at tearing down tariff and non-tariff barriers to global trade.
Even though just starting to be implemented, the Korea, Japan, ASEAN and China free trade agreements have already resulted in growth of Vietnam agricultural exports to those economies for select produce.
Similarly, products from those economies are experiencing – in some cases – triple-digit percentage growth crossing the border into Vietnam.
Official statistics, they said, showed agriculture exports for the first eleven months of calendar year 2016 leading to December registered US$186 million, up US$1.8 billion for the same period in 2015.
Roughly 70.4% of those shipments went to China, trailed by the Republic of Korea (4%), the US (3.5%) and Japan (3.1%). Meanwhile, they added, that imports (principally from Thailand and China) into country shot up a staggering 44% for the period to US$814 million.
Geographical limitations, seasonality, capital access, infrastructure restrictions and market access are just a few of the challenges facing the country’s farmers today, they pointed out.
Luckily, they added, the overall improvement and economic growth in the economy is sprouting a hot bed of agriculture activity and stellar programs that aim to bolster local farmers so they can succeed in the – new marketplace – of today.
The Ministry is supporting local farmers by providing VietGAP, GlobalGAP, and other good agricultural practices and food safety training along with marketing, advertising and other promotion assistance.
The Ministry’s aim is to help farmers bridge the gap that exists in accessing the wider marketplace. And bridging this gap also means money, in the form of grants, which help farmers make capital investments and infrastructure improvements.
To feed the country now and into the future, said the Ministry officials, it’s necessary to support local farmers and producers with programs that offer a chance for the little guy to overcome the obstacles they face and succeed.
The country’s economy is deep-rooted and well-grounded in agriculture, they concluded, and – as the Government promised – with the benefits of trade agreements, there are no limits to what farmers and agriculture can achieve.