Vietnam makes efforts to maintain agricultural growth momentum

The agricultural, forestry and fishery sector expanded by 2.74% in the first nine months of 2021, contributing 23.52% to the overall growth of the economy and playing a key role in the national economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the General Statistics Office.

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Director of the Planning Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Van Viet said that the agricultural sector faced many difficulties in the first nine months of this year due to the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused disruptions to supply-consumption chains.

However, with the joint efforts of authorities and the creativity of enterprises, the whole agricultural sector has realised the “dual goal” of both preventing the pandemic and promoting production to meet domestic and export demand.

Many practical and effective solutions

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the southern provinces, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development established a Working Group to direct production and connect the supply and consumption of agricultural products in southern provinces and cities (Working Group 970).

Director of the Centre for Training and Economic Cooperation Consulting (CCD) - a member of Working Group 970 said that immediately after its establishment, Working Group 970 built and put into operation the website: to connect supply and demand of agricultural products.

In addition, it also actively built a plan to ensure the supply of food and essential goods for Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces during the social distancing period under Directive 16. In late August, an online portal was established to promote the consumption of agricultural products. In recent weeks, the Working Group has also held forums to connect the consumption of agricultural products in regions and localities in addition to holding trading sessions between suppliers and purchasers, bringing new impetus to the whole agricultural sector.

Ca Mau is a key province for shrimp production and export in the Mekong Delta region, but the pandemic has disrupted the supply chain, causing difficulties for farmers and enterprises. “Through Working Group 970, the province has consumed a large amount of shrimp, contributing to relieving farmers' worries,” said Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ca Mau province, Chau Cong Bang.

According to Vice Chairman of Ca Mau Provincial People's Committee Le Van Su, the activities of Working Group 970 have not only helped the province maintain agricultural production during the pandemic but also opened up new ways of conducting the trade promotion of Ca Mau in the future.

Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Dak Lak province Vu Duc Con said that in mid-September 2021, the province had up to 20,000 tonnes of durian and 10,000 tonnes of avocado to be harvested but it was difficult to travel between raw material areas and processing establishments, leading to backlogs. Through the connection with Working Group 970, a large amount of agricultural products were consumed.

Particularly for the northern provinces, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has promoted the removal of technical barriers and expanded export markets, especially the Chinese market and the EU market.

Thanks to timely and effective solutions, the consumption of agricultural products of localities across the country has been more favourable during the pandemic, thereby boosting the recovery of production levels.

Focus on restoring production and export

The export turnover of agricultural, forestry and fishery products was estimated at US$35.5 billion in the first nine months of this year, up 17.7% over the same period in 2020. This is an impressive figure in the context that the pandemic has severely affected most aspects of the agricultural production.

According to experts, the economies of European countries and the US are seeing a quick recovery, pushing up the demand for goods, including agricultural products, so Vietnam should take advantage of this opportunity to restore production and exports to achieve the set agricultural export revenue of US$44 billion in 2021.

In many localities, agricultural production is also recovering after a long period of social distancing, especially in the southern provinces. Deputy Director of Crop Production Department Le Thanh Tung said that the winter-spring rice crop - the most important rice crop of the Mekong Delta provinces is being conducted with the support of subsidies in fertilizer prices in a bid to reduce production costs and increase product quality and profits for farmers.

In addition, the production and supply chain of the fishery industry is also being restored, particularly for tra fish and shrimp to ensure a stable source of raw materials for the remaining months of the year and for 2022.

However, maintaining the growth momentum of the agricultural sector in the last months of 2021 is still a great challenge. Therefore, the agriculture sector needs to receive supports from the Government and the relevant ministries and sectors regarding issues such as: prioritising vaccination for the workforce in the field, providing support for farmers in plant and animal varieties, farming techniques and capital to restore production in addition to supporting businesses in terms of capital, interest rates, and the transportation of materials and products and to help the whole agricultural sector grasp opportunities for recovery and growth in the future.