NDO - Although heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the export turnover of agro-forestry-fishery products in the past nine months was estimated at US$35.5 billion, up 17.7% over the same period in 2020.
In the remaining three months of this year, agro-forestry-fishery export revenue is expected to reach about US$9 billion, fulfilling the set target of US$44 billion for the whole year.
This goal is a big challenge as the agricultural industry is facing many difficulties such as disrupted supply and consumption chains and stagnant production and export due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Diseases related to crops and livestock are also appearing in many localities. In addition, climate change is becoming more obvious and extreme with anomalous natural disasters and increasing drought and saltwater intrusion.
Production chains have recovered slowly in addition to the lack of labour force and the congestion in the circulation of agro-forestry-fishery products. Many agricultural processing enterprises are short of enough capital to be able to continue their production and business activities.
The implementation of the “three-on-site” production model is still inadequate, incurring additional costs while some enterprises have not yet met the required conditions to maintain production. The transportation of materials in and out of production areas in some localities under social distancing remains difficult.
Moreover, shipping costs are increasing, particularly on some routes where enterprises must struggle to order ships and containers for export. Prices of animal feed and fertilisers have also increased continuously. There is a high demand for COVID-19 vaccines for people involved in production, harvesting, packaging, transporting and purchasing of agro-forestry-fishery products but only a small vaccination rate has been achieved.
In order to achieve the set goals, experts say that the agricultural sector needs to implement drastic and synchronous solutions including the immediate removal of obstacles in the production of agricultural products, especially the circulation of products to prevent disruption to the supply chain and the removal of technical barriers.
The Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Vietnam are suggested to take measures to reduce import taxes on raw materials and animal feed and provide credit support and preferential interest rates for enterprises. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Transport are requested to deal with increasing logistics costs in exporting goods and consider the reduction by at least half of the electricity costs for agricultural enterprises implementing “three-on-site” production models.
The Ministry of Health is asked to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccination for workers in the agricultural sector to ensure production. The Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, should continue to provide market information and strengthen exchanges with the main Vietnam’s import markets on the customs clearance procedures for agricultural products. The sector also needs to promote trade in agricultural products with countries such as Peru, Australia, Brazil, China, the US, Russia, Czech, and others.
More support should be provided for businesses to export agricultural products that are in harvest season to the EU, the UK, and Chinese markets. Enterprises should quickly switch to official export channels to ensure the consumption of agro-forestry-fishery products even when the pandemic has yet to be fully controlled.
If the above solutions are implemented synchronously in addition to the flexible adjustment of the crop structure, Vietnam can fulfill its set target, contributing to solidifying agriculture as the mainstay of the economy.
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