Measures to boost farm exports to China coming: minister

By Hoang Thuy   February 4, 2022 | 05:36 pm PT
Measures to boost farm exports to China coming: minister
The dragonfruit orchard of Nguyen Luan in Ham Thuan Nam District, central Binh Thuan Province, Dec. 30, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Quoc
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan has spoken to VnExpress about proposed new measures to overcome difficulties in exporting agricultural products to large markets like China.

Referring to the recent pileup of trucks carrying agricultural products on the China border, he said his ministry, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and local governments have called for reducing the delivery of goods to border gates, and urged China to speed up customs clearance.

"We have also recommended that the Government should prioritize policies such as disinfection and inspection of goods, help localities develop border gate infrastructure, warehousing and transshipment, logistics and agricultural product preservation centers".

Localities need to quickly review, survey and set up a buffer zone for goods to be transported to China because of the Covid-19 pandemic and quickly isolate people and goods carrying the coronavirus at the buffer zones so that China would not close border gates.

His ministry had proposed the establishment of a multi-functional complex at the border to collect, preserve, semi-process, and products for export to China.

"The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is discussing with Quang Ninh Province and related ministries and sectors to quickly set up an Asia-Pacific agriculture, forestry and seafood trade center in the province's Mong Cai Town."

"Its effectiveness will be a basis for establishing similar centers in Lang Son, Lao Cai and other border provinces," he said.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Smoothly exporting to China required coordination between production, processing, transportation, supply chain, distribution and import-export management.

His ministry would continue to negotiate with the Chinese side about expanding Vietnamese exports using the official quota to replace the current high-risk non-quota exports over the border.

For this production needed to be concentrated and not scattered like now.

While China remained Vietnam’s main agricultural market, others showed great potential.

The EU bought 13.7 percent of Vietnam’s exports. "We are drafting a scheme on diversifying agricultural export markets based on advantages derived from trade agreements with the U.S., Japan, the EU (EVFTA), the U.K. (UKVFTA)...," Hoan said.

To meet the stringent quality requirements of the U.S., EU and China, the agriculture ministry would guide farmers all over the country in standardizing farming areas, changing livestock breeding and cultivation practices, improving quality, tracing product origin, and establishing codes for production areas and packing.

"There should be a revolution in each locality, each field and by each farmer. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has a program to standardize farms for export of goods".

In 2019, its ST25 won the world’s best rice award.

Central Highlands coffee, Can Tho rice, Dong Giao pineapple, Cat Chu mango, Phu Quoc pepper, Lao Cai banana, and Shan Tuyet, O Long and Tan Cuong tea are among items that are popular around the world.

Hoan added: "We export a lot, but 90 percent is in raw form. After importing our products, foreign firms process and use their own names and brands.

"Up to 80 percent of our agricultural products have not built a brand, logo or label. I want Vietnamese agricultural products to be identified, not remain anonymous forever".

Vietnam exports more than 10 key agricultural items to 160 countries and territories with products like coffee, rice, cashew, seafood, rubber, vegetables, and wood fetching more than US$1 billion each.

China is one of Vietnam's top trading partners. The import-export turnover of agro-forestry-fishery products between the two countries had grown strongly from $8 billion in 2015 to $11 billion last year.

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

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