A seminar on the prospects of Vietnam’s agricultural sector was held on April 4 in Hanoi , forecasting that the farm produce market is likely to face various fluctuations in 2013.

The annual event was co-organised by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and the National Agricultural Policy Centre.

It was attended by representatives from the top ten institutions in the world that specialise in macro-economics, agricultural development and economic forecasting.

Participants said rice, livestock and seafood will continue to be the focus of both producers and businesses, and will be hardest hit by the changes this year.

Dr. Dang Kim Son, the Head of IPSARD, said besides the slow recovery of the global and domestic economy, the agricultural sector faces increasing impacts posed by climate change. Vietnam ’s agricultural production capacity has been lagging behind other regional countries, plus the quality of agricultural products is not guaranteed.

Vietnam is entering a period of fulfilling its commitments to opening its market and reducing taxes on numerous products this year, such as processed farm produce and foodstuffs, he said.

It also means that agricultural exporters will have to face strict quality controls, new trade conditions, and stronger impacts from in the world market, said Son.

During the seminar, economic experts said along with the agricultural restructuring process, Vietnam should focus on short-term measures to ensure sustainable development.

Besides stabilising agricultural productivity and joining world value-added chains, enterprises and farmers should diversify their products and enhance public investment to benefit farmers, they said.

They added that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and relevant ministries should research and disseminate the latest market data to help people make informed decisions.

In 2012, agriculture was a bright spot of the country’s economy, with a growth rate of 3.4 percent and a record export value of 27 billion USD.-VNA