Farm export value falls below targets

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Some key farm export products are struggling to reach targets this year due to a lack of raw materials and disadvantages on the world market, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.

The ministry has reduced expectations in export value for seafood, coffee and rubber.

Export prices on the world market were expected to fall by the end of the year compared to the first half and export volumes would not increase due to lack of raw materials for processing, the ministry said.

Thus, the total export value for the year was expected to fall by US$80 million to $6.1 billion for seafood and from $3.739 billion to $3.7 billion for rubber and the volume of coffee exports was estimated to fall from 1.3 million tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes for the year.

By the end of this year, seafood exporters are likely to face difficulties in accessing raw materials and export markets while a limited domestic supply of coffee would reduce export volumes, the ministry said.

Nguyen Nam Hai, secretary of the Viet Nam Coffee Club, said that coffee export volumes had reduced to half their normal amounts over the past two months due to low stocks.

The seafood industry experienced a lack of raw materials, reducing production capacity by 50-60 per cent, according to the Viet Nam Seafood Exporters and Producers Association.

The ministry planned to follow market developments to effectively manage the export of agricultural and seafood products while updating regulations regarding quality and food safety.

Viet Nam earned $13.9 billion from agricultural, seafood and forest exports during the first seven months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 33.4 per cent.

The ministry expected the country to gain $23 billion from agricultural, seafood and forest products this year, an increase of 20 per cent over last year.

Meanwhile, Viet Nam is set to ship 800,000 tonnes of rubber this year for a turnover of $3 billion, according to the Viet Nam Rubber Association.

This compares to corresponding figures of 782,000 tonnes and $2.3 billion in 2010.

Rubber production this year could increase by 4 per cent over last year, the association said.

The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) estimates world demand this year at 26.1 million tonnes, a year-on-year rise of 1.7 million tonnes. VRA General Secretary Tran Thi Thuy Hoa said Vietnamese enterprises should focus on improving the quality of their products in order to exploit the existing opportunity to promote rubber exports.

The association has asked the Finance Ministry to defer the 5 per cent export tax on rubber in order to help enterprises access capital for expanding cultivation areas and boosting exports.Hoa said the tax relief was particularly necessary now because transportation charges were very high.

She also said demand from China, the major market for Vietnamese rubber, was not stable, causing many difficulties for local firms. The rubber industry planned several promotion campaigns in order to expand its markets to other countries, she added.

VRA members would also expand areas under rubber cultivation in the provinces of Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

They would also work to improve the quality of their products and build new processing plants in areas where there were a lot rubber plantations, Hoa said.

In the northwestern and northeastern provinces, it is planned that another 60,000ha are placed under rubber cultivation, bringing total area across the country to 800,000ha.

Vietnamese scientists will work to develop better varieties of rubber trees with high yields and less time before producing latex. They will also advise farmers on improved cultivation methods.

Viet Nam plans an output of 1.1 million tonnes of rubber by 2015 and 1.2 – 1.4 million tonnes by 2020.

To attain an annual export turnover of over $2 billion, the industry needed to increase production of value-added rubber products, Hoa said. — VNS

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