Rice drags Q1 agro-forestry-fishery exports down

By Hung Le   April 4, 2019 | 05:12 am PT
Rice drags Q1 agro-forestry-fishery exports down
People working on a rice drying yard in Western Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries exports value went down 2.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019 to $8.8 billion.

The latest report published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) estimates agricultural, forestry and fishery export turnover for March 2019 at $3.3 billion.

According to the report, high export growth in Q1 was seen for items like tea, up 15.4 percent; rubber, up 18.5 percent; pangasius fish, up 10 percent; and rattan and bamboo products, up 37.7 percent.

However, export value of key agricultural produce continued to decline. Most notably, the volume of rice exported in the first three months fell 3.5 percent to 1.43 million tons, totaling $593 million, down 20.2 percent in value compared to the same period last year.

Despite the poor Q1 performance, MARD is optimistic that there will be many new contracts in the second quarter because Vietnam’s rice prices are very competitive compared to other exporters.

Similarly, coffee exports also saw a sharp Q1 decline to 483,000 tons worth $841 million, down 14.2 percent in volume and 22.8 percent in value year-on-year.

In March, the fruit market showed signs of recovery after dipping in the first 2 months as a result of falling demand from China, which buys 73 percent of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports. This was a result of China harvesting at the same time as Vietnam, market observers said.

As a result, fruit and vegetable exports fell by 9.3 percent year-on-year to $879 milllion.

Overall, the value of agro-forestry and fishery imports in the first quarter reached $7.25 billion, up 4.6 percent, resulting in a $1.55 billion deficit for the period.

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