Vietnam earned over 10.7 billion USD from agro-forestry and fishery exports in the first five months of this year, down 4.6 percent compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has reported.

The decrease was due to difficulties in both markets and prices, which affected major agricultural and fishery products, according to MARD.

In the Jan-May period, the country shipped abroad 2.86 million tonnes of rice, bringing home 1.26 billion USD, representing decreases of 3 percent in volume and 8 percent in value year-on-year.

China remains Vietnam ’s largest rice customer, consuming 38.7 percent of Vietnam ’s total export, followed by Malaysia with 6.1 percent, Singapore with 5.6 percent, Hong Kong with 4.2 percent and Indonesia with 4.1 percent.

Coffee businesses delivered 697,000 tonnes to foreign importers, down over 23 percent year on year, for an earning of 1.49 billion USD, a drop of nearly 22 percent. Germany and the US were the two biggest markets, consuming 13.5 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively, of Vietnam ’s total export value.

Meanwhile, tea export also saw a 5.6 percent decrease in volume with 48,000 tonnes shipped abroad, but enjoyed a 1.3 percent rise in value to 73 million USD thanks to higher price.

Among agricultural products, cashew and pepper recorded the most impressive growth in both volume and value. Vietnam exported a total of 85,000 tonnes of cashew nuts for 535 million USD, up 9.7 percent in volume and 0.8 percent in value. The US, China and Netherlands were key markets of Vietnamese cashew.

Pepper export volume rose 13.9 percent to 68,000 tonnes, earning 446 million USD, up 9.6 percent.

At the same time, the country earned 2 billion USD from exporting wood and wooden products, a surge of 10.4 percent. Except for Germany , rises were seen in other major markets such as the US , China , Japan and the Republic of Korea .

To the contrary, seafood export saw a 5.6 percent decrease in the first five months of 2013, with 2.2 billion USD.

In the situation, MARD has directed businesses to further improve their products’ quality, while expanding to new markets to further step up exports of key agro-forestry and fishery products in the next months.-VNA