The agricultural sector will seek strong growth in production and business this year, after recording increases in exports last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In 2015, the agricultural sector expects to see an increase of 3-3.3 percent in gross domestic product (GDP), a year-on-year surge of 3.5-3.7 percent in the value of production and 32 billion USD in the value of farming exports, forestry and seafood products, compared to 30.8 billion USD in 2014, reported

Also, the agricultural sector hopes to focus on increasing high added value agricultural products, efficiency and sustainable development.

In 2015 the local economy is expected to further integrate into the global economy, which will cause the agricultural sector to continue reviewing and adjusting plans and structures of production to increase productivity, as well as the quality and efficiency of exports and local markets, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.

To raise the total export value of the sector to 32 billion USD this year, the ministry will actively work to implement existing multilateral and bilateral agreements, including with the World Trade Organisation and regional free trade commitments.

Officials noted that it will stand side by side with exporters by updating them on foreign markets' latest trade policies and jointly devising feasible market strategies for added-value products.

To extend its commercial reach, the ministry will also promote marketing activities and promptly deal with technical and trade barriers.

According to the MARD, Vietnam gained a year-on-year increase of 11.2 percent in the export value of farming, forestry and fisheries products to 30.8 billion USD for 2014, despite lackluster demand in markets throughout the world.

The farming, forestry and fisheries sector also posted an estimated 9.5 billion USD in its trade surplus, a rise of 7.7 percent.

The ministry said, in 2014, that the value of most export products has surged against previous years, though 2014 has not been a bright year for the consumption of farm products at home or abroad.

Demand for farm products on the world market has continued falling since 2012 because key export markets of Vietnamese farm products, such as the European Union (EU), the US, Japan and the Philippines, have seen slow recoveries and low purchasing power to directly affect exports from Vietnam.

However, seafood and forestry exports had strong growth in export values to push the sector's total export value up last year.

Seafood took in 7.92 billion USD, marking a yearly growth of 18.4 percent, with the US making up 21.81 percent of the total export value and becoming the leading seafood importer for Vietnam.

Also, wood and wooden products enjoyed an increase of 11.1 percent in earnings, at 6.2 billion USD last year. The US, China and Japan are the largest buyers of wood products, accounting for 66 percent of the total export volume.-VNA