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Agriculture struggles during 2015

Released at: 15:48, 03/01/2016

Agriculture struggles during 2015

Production and exports very a much a mixed bag in the sector last year, with certain goods performing well while others fell away.

by Hoang Thu - Chu Khoi

Vietnam’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector went through a difficult time in 2015, with growth rates stalling and export turnover in decline.

Production value in the sector was estimated at VND858.4 trillion ($38.2 billion) for the year, a 2.62 per cent increase year-on-year but down on the 4 per cent recorded in 2014, 3.6 per cent in 2013, and 3 per cent in 2012, according to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The result also falls short of targets set by MARD for the year, of 3.5-3.7 per cent growth.

Agriculture production value reached VND637.4 trillion ($28.3 billion), a 2.28 increase year-on-year, while fisheries’ was VND194.4 trillion ($8.64 billion), up 3.06 per cent compared with the same period of 2014.

Forestry’s production value, meanwhile, reached VND26.6 trillion ($1.18 billion), increasing 7.92 per cent against the same period of 2014. Despite seeing high growth, forestry had no significant impact on the sector’s annual result as it only accounts for 3.1 per cent of value.

Livestock’s production value also saw healthy growth, at 4.3 per cent, mainly from rising dairy cattle heads, which were up 20.9 per cent, and fresh milk production increasing 120 per cent.

Crop farming recorded low growth, at just 1.56 per cent. The harvest of staples rose only slightly, at 0.5 per cent for rice, 1.5 per cent for corn, and 2.5 per cent for cassava.

Meanwhile, the output of certain industrial crops fell against 2014, with sugarcane down 7.6 per cent down, tobacco 19.4 per cent, cotton 55.2 per cent, and soybeans 6.5 per cent.

Others, though, provided growth for the sector. The output of rubber and coffee reached more than 1 million tons and 1.44 million tons, respectively, for increases of 5.21 per cent and 2.6 per cent compared with 2014.

Aquaculture output was estimated at a total of 3.5 million tons, up 3 per cent compared with 2014. Prawn output reached 249,200 tons, a 3.2 increase, while production of whiteleg shrimp was 344,600 tons, a 3.7 per cent decline.

Exports stagnate

Export turnover in agriculture, forestry and fisheries stood at $30.14 billion for the year, down 0.8 per cent compared with 2014.

Major agricultural commodities, in particular, fell by a total of 2.6 per cent, including coffee, by 28.1 per cent, seafood 16.5 per cent, rubber 14.4 per cent, tea 7.4 per cent, and rice 2.9 per cent.

The export value of forestry products, meanwhile, reached nearly $7.1 billion, up 8.2 per cent.

Production in agriculture, forestry and fisheries faced many difficulties, including severe weather from climate change, stricter export markets, a decline in demand for key products, and currency movements that disadvantaged exports.

Food safety remained the greatest concern among consumers, with the issue being unresolved despite the best efforts of local authorities.

MARD has created mechanisms for enterprises to invest in research of technologies and to import modern equipment. Many high-tech agricultural production models were applied by TH Milk, Dabaco Group, and Hoang Anh Gia Lai during the year.

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