Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The agricultural sector is expected to grow 2.21 percent in 2015, a drop of 1.4 percent over 2014 and the lowest rise in five years, said Nguyen Thi Hong, head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry’s Planning Department, at a press conference in Hanoi on November 4.

The sector’s production this year is predicted to grow only 2.3 percent, a year-on-year decrease of 1.8 percent.

However, its average growth in 2011-2015 is likely to reach 3.1 percent, exceeding its target of 2.6-3 percent, she noted.

Meanwhile, the 2015 agro-forestry and fishery export turnover is estimated at 30 billion USD, equivalent to 96.7 percent of the set target. Products that enjoy over 1 billion USD in export value include rice, coffee, rubber, peppercorn, cashew, cassava, fruit, wood and wooden products, shrimp and tra fish.

According to Hong, two main difficulties facing the sector are weather and market. Impacts of El-nino phenomenon have seriously affected cultivation and fishery - two areas contributing greatly to the whole sector’s growth.

At the same time, USD exchange rate fluctuations in many countries recently also influenced agro-forestry-fishery exports as USD is a main means of payment, she said.

Although the State Bank of Vietnam has depreciated Vietnam dong against US dollar, the adjustment still failed to keep pace with the devaluation of other currencies, especially the Chinese yuan and euro, making Vietnamese agricultural products less competitive in terms of price in foreign markets.

Besides, many markets have increased technical barriers, including food safety regulations and non-tariff barriers, creating more difficulties for Vietnamese farm produce, she added.

Between now and the year’s end, a number of measures will be rolled out to expand market and remove difficulties for production and export, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The steering committee for agricultural market will evaluate the supply and demand of key products to propose measures to develop the rice market in the rest of the year.-VNA