June 07, 2020 04:37

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Precarious agricultural exports

11:39 | 03/04/2020

VCN- The Covid-19 epidemic has gradually been well controlled in China, but it is still becoming more and more complex in the world. The negative impact of this pandemic makes the goal of exporting agriculture, forestry and fishery products in 2020 more difficult.

Promoting processing and preserving for domestic consumption and export to markets is an effective solution to help reduce agricultural exports.

Great challenge

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, China is now well controlling the Covid-19 disease, so the market for agricultural products will recover by the end of March and early April, leading to high demand for imported agricultural products, especially food.

"The Chinese market recovered quickly after curbing the epidemic in March 2020 with policies to encourage drastic synchronised recovery. This will be an opportunity for the consumption of goods including agricultural products," Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said.

Despite positive signs of demand in the Chinese market, in many other export markets of Vietnamese agricultural products such as the US, EU, Japan, and South Korea the situation is not very satisfactory. The MARD stated that the current impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the EU and US could take more than three months to control. Thus, until June and July 2020, the import market for agricultural products can recover normally. With the Japanese and South Korean markets affected in the second half of March to May 2020, the import of agricultural products will return in June, but the increase may not be much.

Assessing the "picture" of agriculture, forestry and fishery exports from the beginning of the year until now, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong emphasised that the agricultural sector faces many difficulties and challenges not only from the impact from the epidemic. Covid-19 is taking place but is also influenced by trade conflicts between major economies, with the effects of climate change occurring with increasing severity. This all makes production and exporting key agricultural products face risks. In addition, countries have increased application of protection measures, technical barriers, new regulations on traceability and food safety standards are increasingly higher. Therefore, some key commodities have reduced export turnover such as seafood and vegetables.

In 2020, the industry aims to export agriculture, forestry and fishery products to US$42 billion. However, up to now, MARD stated that achieving this goal is a great challenge. Calculating specific numbers, to export "to reach the target" of US$42 billion, the growth rate of agricultural exports to China must reach 10% and ASEAN markets 9%; other markets must also increase by 9% to offset the decline of the US and EU markets.

Solving "bottlenecks"

Assessing production of aquatic products and vegetables will be directly affected by the complex movements of the Covid-19 epidemic, but according to the "commander" of agriculture sector Nguyen Xuan Cuong, this is also an opportunity for industries such as vegetables and wood to change production methods and business, to seize opportunities to promote exports. The delay in seafood orders will promote the development of processing, canning and freezing production. For fresh fruits and vegetables, localities must adjust their production and harvest season to suit market demand to catch opportunities after the Covid-19 epidemic is controlled; at the same time, they must promote processing and preserving for domestic consumption and export to key markets such as the US, EU and ASEAN.

Regarding export markets, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development coordinated with the ministries, branches, the Embassy of Vietnam, Commercial Affairs in countries and localities to deploy, achieving the highest efficiency in terms of markets promotion and development in key areas, potentials and niche markets from the beginning of 2020, creating a breakthrough in market diversification. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will also focus on coordinating with localities, studying and adjusting plants and animals to suit the needs of the consumer market and advantages of each locality.

Amid the complicated development of the Covid-19 epidemic and increasing Chinese disease control, increasing demand for imported agricultural products, Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh said that in the coming time, it is necessary to mobilise all resources (agencies) State management, enterprises, people) to focus on closely and comprehensively directing to exploit this advantage. The Government should focus on supporting to solve "bottlenecks" for production development, maintaining agricultural trade in the second quarter to wait for the recovery to return in the third quarter of 2020.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposed the Prime Minister adjust agricultural production, enhance processing, storage and circulation to flexibly adapt to the epidemic context through requiring processing factories to increase their productivity capacity, focusing on dry, semi-processed, frozen products, concentrated fruit juice, canned fruit, processed canned seafood, rice and processed poultry. Post-marketing projects for China, EU and US markets. Regarding tax and credit policies, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposes supporting tax and credit policies for production, processing, preservation and export of exported agricultural products that need special attention in the short and medium terms.

"The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the People's Committees of border provinces to direct units such as customs, quarantine and functional forces to strengthen measures to support border trade activities, facilitate customs clearance, not to stagnate goods in border provinces with China; support trade promotion activities in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, develop the domestic market, remove difficult for retail activities, trading in food, agricultural products," Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh said.

By Thanh Nguyen/Huu Tuc