More organic products needed to boost agro exports to EU

Experts have recommended that Vietnamese firms develop organic products for export to the EU, considering it a measure to boost the shipment of farm produce to this demanding market.

A farmer tends to mango trees at a farm in Loc Hung commune of Loc Ninh district, southern Binh Phuoc province (Photo: VNA)
A farmer tends to mango trees at a farm in Loc Hung commune of Loc Ninh district, southern Binh Phuoc province (Photo: VNA)

At a workshop held in Hanoi on August 7, participants called on businesses to increase the export of organic products since more and more consumers in the EU prefer food produced and processed through natural methods.

Do Kim Lang, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said that with tropical agriculture advantages and strong integration into the global economy, Vietnam is able to produce a diversity of agricultural products with high nutritional and commercial value.

As of the end of June 2018, Vietnam had more than 10 key farm products for export. These products have been present in over 160 countries and territories worldwide, including major markets such as the US, the EU and Japan.

The products have brought home over US$1 billion in export revenue, including coffee, rice, cashew nuts, fruit and vegetables, and pepper. In the world rankings, Vietnam respectively ranks first, second and third in exporting pepper, coffee and rice, Deputy of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency Lang noted.

However, because of limited processing capacity and a lack of strong brand names, the export turnover of agricultural and food products has yet to match export volume, he said, adding that export profit has also been reduced due to many intermediary steps.

He said the integration process also poses large challenges to businesses as they have to face protection measures in the form of technical barriers, including stricter safety and quality standards and tightened examination procedures, in the import markets.

Tran Ngoc Quan, Deputy Director of the MoIT’s Department of European and American Markets, said European markets have a high demand for agricultural products, especially tropical products, but they also impose strict requirements for product quality and food safety.

He asked Vietnamese exporters to have a good grasp of Vietnam’s and the partner countries’ commitments in trade deals, while actively seeking chances for cooperation with foreign partners, joining global supply chains, and improving their workers’ skills and productivity.

They should overhaul production processes so that fruit and vegetables satisfy HACCP or GlobalGAP standards and are eligible for export to the EU. It is also necessary to develop concentrated farming areas and apply advanced preservation and processing technologies to meet importers’ requirements, experts said.