Vietnam saw a year-on-year increase of 22.6 percent to 10.4 billion USD in the first eight months of this year in imports of material for production and processing and finished products for the farming, forestry and seafood industries, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The increase was due to a large surge in the import prices for materials and finished products used by these sectors, the ministry said.

Fertiliser saw the highest increase in import volume and value during the period, the ministry said. Volume surged by 31.1 percent to 2.6 million tonnes and 64 percent in value to 1 billion USD.

Rubber products followed, with the country boosting imports by 40 percent in volume to 248,000 tonnes and by 56.7 percent in value to 613 million USD against the same period last year. The average import price during the eight months jumped by 41.3 percent in comparison with the same period last year.

The ministry said pesticide imports had a year-on-year surge of 22 percent in value to 412 million USD.

Import value for wood and wood products increased by 16.4 percent to 835 million USD percent while the figure , for animal feed was 1.6 billion USD, equipvalent to 5.8 percent increase.

Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association, said the animal feed industry must import a huge volume of material every year for processing at an average value of 3 billion USD.

Therefore, the price of animal feed was always higher here than in other countries, making it difficult for Vietnam 's livestock industry to compete with similar products made in other countries, Lich said.

Pham Tat Thang, an economic expert at the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Institute for Trade Studies, said material and product imports for the farming sector would continue in the near future because most key products in the farming sector, such as fertiliser, had to be imported.

Initially, the farming, forestry and seafood sectors should apply modern measures and technologies to produce high value-added export products to reduce the trade deficit, Thang said.

But for the long term, the farming, forestry and seafood sectors should prioritise the expansion of material production for the domestic processing sector and finished products for local consumption, he said. /.