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Agricultural exports to reach $6b   2012-03-28 - VNS

Workers of the Binh Phuoc Cashew Processing and Agricultural Produces Co in Binh Phuoc Province process cashews for export. Cashew exports saw high growth, totalling 31,000 tonnes and bringing in $222 million in the first quarter of this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue.
Agricultural exports are forecast to reach nearly US$5.9 billion in the first quarter of this year. This figure is on par with the same period last year, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.

The minister said the export values of major traditional Vietnamese agro items posted $3.2 billion, a decline of 14 per cent. Fishery products stood at $1.2 billion, up 9 per cent, and forestry products reached nearly $922 million, a year-on-year increase of 6 per cent.

Demand for rice greatly declined in the first quarter, despite the decreasing competitive pressure from major rice exporter Thailand due to a policy that ensures Vietnamese farmers a high purchase price. However, Viet Nam must compete against other rice exporters like India, Myanmar and Pakistan that sell at a lower price.

The total rice exports in the first quarter reached 1.3 million tonnes, a turnover of $681 million, down 32 per cent in quantity and 29.5 per cent in value over the same period last year.

Indonesia remains the largest rice importer, accounting for one-third of the volume and value of Vietnamese exports. The remarkable growth in rice exports since early this year include Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan. Vietnamese fragrant rice has gradually taken consumers confidence of these importers with a growth rate between two and four times over the same period last year.

Viet Nam's rubber exports are also in a dismal situation due to the global decline in rubber prices. Additionally, the major consumption market of Vietnamese rubber is China, which now has a large inventory. As a result, rubber massively increased in volume by 40 per cent, but export value declined nearly 10 per cent over the same period last year.

The Eurozone debt crisis may be one reason that coffee consumption decreased in the EU market. Domestic coffee exporters have therefore enhanced their exports to new markets with remarkable growth recorded in Indonesia (9 times), Algeria and Mexico (4 times). The total coffee exports reached 504,000 tonnes worth $1 billion, down nearly 12 per cent in quantity and 14.3 per cent in value.

Though the largest importer, tea exports to Pakistan have also seen a decline of two-thirds over the same period last year. The total tea export in the first three months reached 29,000 tonnes with a turnover of $41 million.

Cashew exports saw high growth, with the country exporting 31,000 tonnes at $222 million with 6.6 per cent increase in volume and 8.5 per cent in turnover.

Despite the difficulties encountered in the EU market, seafood exports have seen a substantial growth compared to other farm products. Besides the decline of the EU, including a drop of 22 per cent in Germany over the same period last year, Vietnamese fishery products have sold well in Japan, South Korea and Mexico. However, MARD has warned exporters of the biggest concerns relating to food safety and hygiene.

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