Vietnam agricultural exports amounted to US $30 billion in 2016

Vietnam’s agricultural production not only met domestic demand, but exported to 180 countries, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong told the National Assembly in Ha Noi yesterday.

Cuong said that in 2016, agricultural exports amounted to US$30 billion, and were expected to reach $35 billion this year.

He said while climate change brought many challenges for agricultural production, they could be tackled by reforms in the sector, citing the fact that the Mekong Delta region had shifted from growing rice, fish and fruit to producing more fish and fruit.

Regarding fruit exports, the minister said each province should invest in its own signature type of fruit, for instance flowers in Da Lat City, longan in Hung Yen Province and oranges in Cao Phong District of Hoa Binh Province.

“The weather in Ninh Thuan Province is rather hot and dry, but apple and grapes grown in this province are very tasty. So it’s obvious that if we choose the right crops, we can make huge profits,” he said.

Sharing Cuong’s opinion, Deputy Nguyen Thien Nhan from Ho Chi Minh City, said recent statistics showed that the total export value of fruit, flowers and vegetables had exceeded that of oil exports.

In 2016, Vietnam raised $2.45 billion on fruit, flowers and vegetable exports.

Thus, Nhan suggested using fruits, flowers and vegetables to spearhead exports.

“It is forecast that fruits, vegetable and flowers exports will reach $9 to 10 billion in 2022,” he said.

Losing projects
Explaining 12 projects under the management of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, minister Tran Tuan Anh said dealing with these project was following the right progress.

The ministry’s statistics showed that 12 projects incurred total losses of over VND16 trillion US$7,04,480,000 as of the end of 2016 on investments of VND63.6 trillion, with loans accounting for roughly 75 per cent. 

The 12 inefficient projetcs include Ninh Binh Fertilizer Plant, DAP 2 Haiphong Fertilizer Plant, Lao Cai DAP 1 Fertiliser Plant, Ha Bac Fertilizer Plant, Phuong Nam Pulp Mill, and Dung Quat Shipbuilding Plant, three ethanol projects in Quang Ngai, Phu Tho and Binh Phuoc provinces, Dinh Vu Polyester Plant, Thai Nguyen Steel plant and Iron Plant and Quy Xa iron ore mining. 

In 2016 and 2017 the Government set up steering committees to work on the projects, which were operating ineffectively. The preparation for measures will be completed in 2017 and in 2018 these measures will be enforced aggressively, Tuan Anh said.

“Such complicated work will take a long time. We would have to make an overall assessment to find solutions. The important thing is the lessons learned from the failure of these projects,” he added.

The latest report by the trade ministry said that six factories out of the 12 projetcs were still operating, but suffering loss, including four factories producing fertiliser, the Dung Quat Shipbuilding plant and Viet Trung Steel plant.

Logistic services
Regarding logistics services, deputy Nguyen Quoc Binh from Ha Noi cited data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Vietnam Business Logistics Association that the value of Vietnam’s logistics market is equal to 21-25 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Logistics services are an important economic sector with potential in the country. This industry can boost GDP growth and the economy’s competitiveness, he noted.

He pointed that the logistics industry’s contribution to the economy remains modest, only about 2-3 per cent of total GDP. Logistics are considered a lucrative but untapped sector in Vietnam because some 80 per cent of the logistics market is run by foreign firms.

While logistics costs are estimated at 7-15 per cent of GDP in developed countries, they account for 21-25 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP, hampering growth. Therefore, it is important to reduce logistics costs while improving services, he stressed.

Highlighting advantages for logistics services development, Binh said Viet Nam is located in the centre of the Asian-Pacific region in terms of maritime and air transportation. It is a gateway to the East Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, for three of the four economic corridors in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. 

It also has locations favourable for building deep-water seaports and international transit airports.

The deputy said logistics can become a spearhead sector in Vietnam’s economy, and the country should work harder to optimise its advantages.

1 VND = 0.000044 USD

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