According to the General Statistics Office, the agricultural sector has still managed to record decent growth despite the impacts of uncertain weather, rising costs of fuel, fertiliser and feed, and the global food crisis triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Data released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) shows that Vietnam exported 40.8 billion USD worth of farming produce in the first nine months of 2022, up 15.2% year on year. The seven commodities with revenue exceeding 2 billion USD were seafood, coffee, rice, rubber, fruits and vegetables, cashew nuts, and timber and timber products.
According to VASEP, which represents seafood producers and exporters, Vietnam’s seafood exports hit 8.5 billion USD by the end of the third quarter, up 38% over the same period last year; of which shrimp exports brought in nearly 3.4 billion USD, up 23%, while shark catfish exports generated almost 2 billion USD, up 82%.
Regarding the market, seafood exports to the EU already surpassed 1 billion USD in the first nine months, up 41%. The US remained the largest market for Vietnamese seafood at 1.8 billion USD, up 22%, while China witnessed the strongest growth at 76%, reaching 1.35 billion USD. It is anticipated that Vietnamese seafood exports will reach 10 billion USD by the end of November.
For fruits and vegetables, the nine-month revenue dropped 11% to 2.45 billion USD as exports to China fell by a sharp 30.5% from the same period last year to about 1.06 billion USD. As such, the sector is racing against time to fulfil the target of 3.2 billion USD for 2022.
According to Secretary General of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association Dang Phuc Nguyen, it is good news that the first batches of Vietnamese durian have been exported to China via official channels following an agreement between MARD and China’s customs agency.
Passion fruits are also being exported to China via official channels under a pilot programme, and most recently, Vietnamese pomelos were also given the green light for shipping to the US. These are great opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to step up the export of high-value goods in the final months of the year to increase the overall revenue of fruit and vegetable exports.
One of the goods that is expected to see strong growth during the year-end months is rice. In the first nine months of 2022, rice export revenue reached 2.6 billion USD, up 9.3% year on year. Vietnam is seeking to export 6.3-6.5 tonnes of rice in 2022, with revenue expected to reach 3.2-3.3 billion USD.
According to VASEP Secretary General Truong Dinh Hoe, the seafood sector was expecting explosive growth in the final months of the year to meet the increased demand for the holidays. But with many countries facing high inflation, resulting in low purchasing power, the sector will shift to more affordable processed products to boost demand.
He added that focus will continue to be put on the Chinese market as demand in the world’s second largest economy gradually recovers, with Vietnam possessing the advantages of close proximity and low shipping costs.
Head of seafood exporter AGIFISH’s sales department Pham Xuan Khanh said the shipping costs to the US and Europe are rising. As such, if the Chinese market re-opens after the long period of strict COVID-19 policy, it will offer opportunities for Vietnamese exporters to increase revenue while significantly reducing shipping time and costs.
For fruits, Vietnam is enjoying a great advantage in demanding markets, so enterprises should strive to meet the quality and food safety requirements for greater market penetration. The US market, for example, has a huge demand for fruit, reaching as much as 12 million tonnes a year, said Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy at the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency.
The US domestic fruit production currently meets 70% of the demand, while the remaining 30%, equivalent to 3.6 million tonnes, comes from imports, which is a great opportunity for Vietnamese fruits to access the world’s largest economy.
Pomelo is the 7th kind of Vietnamese fresh fruit allowed to be imported to the US. In addition, some other fruits such as coconut and durian are being imported as frozen products. In the coming time, the US will consider importing fresh coconuts, therefore Vietnamese enterprises need to capitalise on this opportunity to penetrate the US market. Vietnam should also pay attention to the rising demand for processed products such as pomelo juice, fruit jelly candies, pomelo essential oil, and other high-value products.
Currently Vietnam’s agricultural sector is gearing up to fulfil the target for 2022. With solid performance in the first nine months of the year, if Vietnamese enterprises manage to “catch the market signals” successfully, the agricultural sector’s export target of 55 billion USD for 2022 is entirely within reach.