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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is eager to work with New Zealand to foster agro-product exports and learn experience to build brands for agro-products. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said, “Vietnam expects to receive technology transfer from New Zealand – a country having developed agriculture to modernise domestic agriculture. Besides that, we want to learn experience to build the brand for the dragon fruit product like the way New Zealand succeeded in creating a brand for kiwi fruit.”
At the second New Zealand-Vietnam Agricultural Dialogue organised in early April, chief executive of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries Ray Smith, and Deputy Minister Doanh affirmed that more solutions are needed to realise the goal of achieving a bilateral trade turnover of $2 billion by 2024.
Specifically, the New Zealand ministry is already supporting agricultural cooperation with the MARD with activities in plant health, veterinary epidemiology and electronic certification. These activities complement New Zealand’s ongoing development programme, which includes a premium fruit development project in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, a rural dam safety scheme in Central Vietnam, and a vegetable project in the south-central province of Binh Dinh.
Smith said, “New Zealand has developed one of the most efficient agricultural sectors in the world, with a reputation for cutting edge research and technology, robust and safe agricultural practices, and delicious and high-quality products. This two-way exchange benefits both of us.”
Two-way merchandise trade between New Zealand and Vietnam in 2021 topped $1.56 billion, an increase of 14 per cent on-year, and by December 2021, Vietnam was New Zealand’s 15th largest trading partner.
Vietnamese relevant ministries have also coordinated in organising many seminars to connect Vietnamese agricultural exporters with overseas markets. They discussed supply and demand issues, legal factors in export activities, consumer psychology, and local culture so that Vietnamese producers and exporters can have a comprehensive view of the international markets in order to effectively conquer this market with all its potential and value.
The MARD, in collaboration with the State Committee on Overseas Vietnamese under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, connects with the overseas Vietnamese community to create a bridge to bring Vietnamese agricultural products higher and further in the global value chain.
According to statistics from the committee, there are currently over five million overseas Vietnamese living and working in 190 countries and territories. They can play the part of connections for the MARD to bring agricultural products to the world, leading the flow of agricultural products and bringing new agricultural knowledge back to the country. Up to now, overseas Vietnamese have invested 3,500 projects in Vietnam with the total registered capital of up to $11 billion, many of which are in the agricultural sector.
In order to realise the target of $50 billion in agricultural export turnover this year, along with the government’s efforts, businesses are also proactive in improving the products’ quality and value. Xuan Nha Cooperative is focusing on producing sour bamboo shoots for export. It is a famous product from the Xuan Nha clean bamboo shoot production and processing cooperative in Van Ho district in the northern province of Son La.
In 2021, the cooperative only exported around 20 tonnes of sour bamboo shoots. From 2022 onwards, the export output is expected to increase higher when Xuan Nha completes the construction of the 300ha growing material area. “Taiwan will be the first market, then we will look for opportunities to export to other markets,” said Ha Thi Hue, deputy director of Xuan Nha.
To achieve the above goals, the cooperative sought technical support from international projects and signed a 20-year cooperation contract with Yen Thanh Co., Ltd. based in the northern province of Yen Bai to introduce this product to the foreign market.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said, “At present, 20-30 per cent of domestic agricultural products go through processing for export. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, nearly 80 per cent of processed agro-products are sold on the market. We need to step up processing, which creates very high added value and benefits for producers.”
Currently, there are 7,500 industrial-scale agricultural, forestry, and fishery processing enterprises in the whole country associated with exports, and tens of thousands of small-scale processing establishments and households on top of that. It is estimated that each year the sector has the ability to process and preserve about 120 million tonnes of related raw materials.
Statistics published by the MARD show that Vietnam’s agro-forestry-aquatic product export and import turnover was estimated at $22.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 6.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.