According to Do Lien Huong at the IPSARD, rice exports increased thanks to higher demand, which led to higher prices and larger revenue while the export of seafood and fruit fell due to disruptions to supply chains.
She added that agricultural trade fell but at a slower pace than the decline of trade in goods in general, since food is an essential good.
For seafood, export revenues dropped by 1.9% in 2020 but showed signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2021, with a growth rate of 6.9%, said Nguyen Hoai Nam at the VASEP, which represents seafood producers and exporters.
He stated there will be more opportunities for Vietnamese seafood as major markets such as the US, Japan and China are ramping up imports while Vietnam’s main competitors such as India and Thailand are still struggling with Covid-19.
With regards to fruit and vegetables, exports were growing between 20% and 40% from 2010 to 2018 but have decreased since 2019 as a result of increasing protectionism and the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Nguyen Thanh Binh, Chairman of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, Vietnam needs to increase linkages from production to processing, storage and distribution in order to meet stricter requirements regarding quality, safety and origin tracing.
He suggested applying good agricultural practices and raising the proportion of organic products so as to create products with higher quality for processing and export.
For his part, Dau Anh Tuan at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should continue supporting enterprises by introducing measures that are more accessible and effective.