Processing cashew nuts (Photo: VNA)
The failure to keep up with market demand and underperforming trade promotional programmes are hindering the development of Vietnam’s agriculture, as heard at a recent conference on agricultural product consumption in Ho Chi Minh City.

According to Nguyen Quoc Vong from the RMIT University (Australia), since Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2007, the country has reaped remarkable achievements in boosting agricultural product export.

However, the sector will face difficulties as from 2015 when Vietnam began to enter more deeply in new, highly competitive markets through existing and under-negotiation free trade agreements (FTA) such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the European Union (EU) FTA and the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP).

Vong said many members of these FTAS have a developed agricultural sector such as Thailand, the US, Japan and Australia, which put Vietnam at a disadvantage.

“Our weakness lies in the poor ability to forecast market demand, and we only produce what we can and want to produce. That is the reason why bumper harvest always results in dropping price,” said Vo Thi Thanh Loc from the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute.

Loc said localities should enlist specialists to study markets for local key products. She also suggested Vietnam support and attract enterprises to invest in the agricultural sector, as enterprises have more understanding of markets, helping increase quality, quantity and price of agricultural produce

The RMIT lecturer, Vong, went on to say that the Vietnamese Government has introduced several investment policies for the sector but famers have had little chance to benefit from those policies.

Chairwoman of the High Quality Vietnamese Products Business Association Vu Kim Hanh said promotional activities for agricultural product consumption and trade are still desultory and sporadic.

Delegations at the event suggested the government should develop more negotiation programmes on agricultural product consumption with other countries and promote national level technical barriers to protect the sector in the context of integration.-VNA