June 16, 2019 05:52

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Vietnamese agricultural products are facing three challenges

15:54 | 15/03/2019

VCN- Vietnamese agricultural products are now available in 180 countries and territories with a total turnover of over 42 billion USD. However, in the context of a volatile world market, what outstanding challenges do exports of agricultural products in the coming time face? What is the fundamental solution for exporting sustainable agricultural products...? Around this issue, the reporter of Customs newspaper had an interview with Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong , Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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vietnamese agricultural products are facing three challenges
Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong , Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

How do you assess the challenges posed for agricultural exports in 2019 as well as in the future?

After the renovation process, especially in 2018, Vietnam's agricultural production not only meet the needs of nearly 100 million people, but also creates export volume of up to 42 billion USD, including ten groups of agricultural products having an export value of USD 1 billion or more. It must be affirmed this is a huge step in agricultural production as well as the value chain of agricultural products of Vietnam.

However, in 2019 and in the coming time, there are three basic groups of challenges to take agricultural products deeper into the global value agricultural products chain. As follows:

First, Vietnam's agriculture is still mainly small and with scattered production, so it does not meet the requirements of large-scale commodity production and high standards from the international market. It is necessary to continue to reorganize production based on small households with the number of 8.6 million households, to become a commodity-oriented agriculture with good management.

Second, challenges and risks also come from the impact of climate change. Vietnam is one of the five countries most impacted by climate change. In the period of 2015-2018, Vietnam annual losses were from 1-2 billion USD from natural disasters. We must organize agricultural production to adapt to climate change. Vietnam must have general solutions, select production objects, the process, and other steps with the motto to turn disadvantages into advantages. This is a wise choice.

Third, this challenge comes from the deep integration process. Vietnam has a low starting point because GDP per capita is only USD 2,574, compared to countries with great potential in economy, science and technology, and the context of the open market is fierce competition.

Since 2008 when the global economic crisis occurred, countries have a common tendency to focus on taking care of and prioritizing investment in the agricultural sector. This area ensures not only general security but is also a first priority. Therefore, when Vietnam wants to join exports to the global value chain we will meet competition pressure. Facing that situation, it requires a synchronous solution to overcome three big problems to hope that Vietnamese agricultural products will be exported better. That causes promotion of production.

Last time, Vietnamese agricultural exports recorded quite a positive growth, but in fact up to now, making brands for export agricultural products is still a persistent weakness. What is your comment about this?

Making brands for products requires a process in Vietnam as well as in other countries. Previously, Vietnam was an undernourished country, now it has become a self-sufficient country and has just reached the commodity stage. Currently, both the Government, localities, industry associations, businesses as well as the people, are very eager to be able to build brands and organize goods. Then we will have the ranking agricultural products going deep into the global value chain step by step. This is a common desire, it is certainly very difficult, requires synchronize determination, especially as the economy is currently based on small scale households.

There are many opinions that in the context of the country's economy increasingly integrating strongly with the world economy today, the promotion of sustainable agricultural production and export is not only a private business of the agricultural sector. What is your opinion?

It is true that the story of agriculture, farmers and rural development is not a matter of MARD and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. This is the demand for restructuring an economic sector, requiring the participation of all three axes.

The first axis is the Government area. The Government should continue to improve institutions, create the most favorable conditions for people and businesses to participate in the production and business process. Along with the groups of solutions to improve institutions is the most open and convenient administrative reform. This is the work of many ministries, departments and branches.

The second axis is businesses, associations and industries. In integration as well as in the current commodity organization, it is impossible to succeed without businesses. Enterprise will be the nucleus in the chain of links. Vietnam now is very happy with 10,000 enterprises directly producing in the agricultural sector. There are about 49,000 processing enterprises participating in different segments, creating agricultural auxiliary products. We must consider that is a very good element, basing on that, we combine to develop many cooperatives. According to the development program, from now to 2020 there will be 50,000 cooperatives to make 8.6 million farmer households closely linked to over 10,000 existing enterprises. Thus, we can establish a close link between the manufacturing sector, the processing and market organization area to get success.

The third axis is the people. They can not stand and integrate alone, it is impossible to produce agro-products to supply to the market which requires higher and higher standards. They but must comply with their own links, must go to cooperatives, start a business.

Thus, the third axis is the Government; Enterprises and farmers must work together on the basis of strengthening international cooperation. Trusting with the setting up solutions, Vietnam will continue to succeed in the coming integration of agricultural products.

Besides export, the domestic market is also a potential market for Vietnamese agricultural products, especially when international trade is more and more unpredictable. According to you, Minister, is this a feasible and accelerated direction for Vietnamese agricultural products in the coming time?

The economic development is for the people. The country now boasts a population of nearly 100 million people, so we must first take care of our own people. Export is also a solution to get profit for serving people's lives.

The trend of all developed economies must be taken into account for new and sustainable needs. The general trend is that changes in the world market will happen more and more, so it is very difficult to predict. First of all, the domestic market must be taken as a foundation, from which to make a strong expansion into other markets. This is not only a goal but also a solution and motivation to be able to build and a develop sustainable agriculture sector.

Thank you Minister!

By Thanh Nguyen /QuynhLan