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Failure to link supply-demand makes farm exports difficult: minister

By Anh Minh   March 4, 2022 | 10:47 pm PT
Failure to link supply-demand makes farm exports difficult: minister
Drivers unload goods from a container at the Vietnam-China border in Lang Son Province, December 2021. Photo by VnExpress/ Ngoc Thanh
The agricultural sector does not factor in export demand, and so trade depends mostly on luck, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan has said.

"We grow produce but do not seek out markets [or assess their] demand," he said at a forum Friday.

He added that Vietnam needs to switch from unofficial to contracted trade, the former referring to sending agriculture produce over its borders and hoping to find buyers.

As of Friday over 1,400 container trucks were stuck at the Chinese border in Lang Son Province, 800 of them carrying farm produce, as the second biggest market for Vietnamese agricultural products continues to adopt a ‘zero Covid’ policy.

China was Vietnam's second-largest export market for agricultural, forestry and fishery products behind the U.S., posting an export value of $8.4 billion in the first 11 months of last year, accounting for 19.2 percent of Vietnam’s total agricultural exports.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Fruit Association (Vinafruit), said it takes time to change a long-established habit of exporting via unofficial channels to China.

"It is difficult to access the official market. Exporters need more support."

Hoan suggested that a province, for example Quang Ninh, could become a hub for agricultural exports where Chinese traders could come and sign contracts, and trucks could then deliver to their destinations in China.

Cold storages could be set up in case of a blockage, he added.

 
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