Despite an increase in volume, export prices for agro-forestry and seafood products fell due to the impact of the global economic recession, leading to a remarkable decrease in the total value of exports.

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam exported 4.4 million tonnes of rice, an increase of nearly 50 percent. However, it only took in just over 3 billion USD, reflecting a mere six percent rise. The modest increase in value was due to a 22 percent year-on-year decrease in the export price in the first half of the year, which stood at 469 USD per tonne.

During the same period, coffee exports were up 21.6 percent in volume at 812,000 tonnes, but also saw a 14 percent drop in value, fetching only 1.2 billion USD. In the mean time, rubber exports halved in value while volume increased by 3 percent.

Vietnamese wood product importers--the US , Japan and the EU--tended to shift from high-end products to more affordable ones, thus reducing total export value. Added to this, protectionist policies put in place by importers drove up the cost of raw materials.

However, seafood showed signs of thriving, thanks to a slight rise in July. It is forecast that the export price of shrimp, basa and tra fish will recover in the coming time.

Generally, in the 7-month period, the agro-forestry and fishery sectors posted over 9 billion USD in export value, a year-on-year decrease of 5 percent. As a result, the import of materials and fertiliser for production cost 5.7 billion USD, a 14 percent decrease compared to the same period last year.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development forecast that agro-forestry and seafood exports will fulfil 2009’s export target of 12.5 billion USD as prices of goods on the world market bounce back.

The ministry is placing focus on trade promotion and calling for international support for removal of trade barriers in order to expand export markets./.