Agricultural sector gains trade surplus in Q1 despite COVID-19

Thursday, Apr 02, 2020 09:56

In the first quarter, the total trade value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products was estimated at nearly $15.2 billion. – Photo thanhnien.vn

The agricultural sector recorded a trade surplus of about US$2.9 billion in the first quarter of this year despite suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The trade surplus was up 48.9 per cent compared to the same period last year, the ministry said.

In the first quarter, the total trade value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products was estimated at nearly $15.2 billion. Export value reached about $9.1 billion, the same figure in the first quarter of 2019 while import value decreased by 13.2 per cent year on year to $6.1 billion.

The sector saw a reduction of 3.1 per cent in export value of main agricultural products to $4.2 billion; 14 per cent in seafood products to $1.5 billion and 21.8 per cent for products of the husbandry industry to $109 million.

Only timber and forest product export value surged by 16.1 per cent to $2.8 billion, according to the ministry.

In March, the total export value of agriculture, forestry and fishery products reached $3.5 billion, down 3.2 per cent year-on-year but up 16.6 per cent month-on-month, it said, including $1.6 billion from main agricultural products, $1.1 billion from the forest and $549 million from seafood products.

During the first quarter, most commodities saw a reduction in export value, such as rubber (26.1 per cent), tea (19 per cent), pepper (13.9 per cent), fruit (12.5 per cent) and pangasius (61.5 per cent).

However, some major export products achieved growth in export value, including rice (27.8 per cent), and timber and wood products (15.9 per cent).

Export markets of local farming products in the first quarter changed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry said. Accordingly, export value rose by 18 per cent to $2.1 billion to the US, accounting for the largest part at 23.2 per cent of the total. Meanwhile, export value to China, the second-largest market for local farming, forestry and fishery products, fell to $1.9 billion, down 19.4 per cent.

Export value reduced by 0.9 per cent to $1.2 billion to the EU market but rose by 2.7 per cent to $802 million to Japan.

This figure also surged by 16.4 per cent to $970 million to ASEAN countries.

Nguyen Quoc Toan, head of the MARD's Department of Farm Product Processing and Market Development, said the ministry is implementing solutions to promote production, aiming at meeting higher demand in farming, forest and fishery products after the pandemic ends in China.

The ministry will focus on removing technical barriers in importing countries and negotiating to expand market shares in the EU, Eurasian Economic Union, the US, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

It will also follow developments in major markets that have suffered great impacts from the pandemic to adapt export activities, he said, adding that agricultural exports via border gates to China would be a focus to ensure quick customs clearance and control of the disease. – VNS

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