Vietnam, Australia hold high-level dialogue on agricultural policies hinh anh 1Vietnam and Australia hold the first high-level dialogue on agricultural policies in Hanoi on November 22 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources convened the first high-level dialogue on agricultural policies in Hanoi on November 22.

MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh said agriculture plays an important role in the socio-economic development of Vietnam and Australia has continually been a big partner in agricultural development.

Many programmes with Australia have been carried out in such fields as rural clean water and climate change response, especially in the Mekong Delta and coastal areas which are the most vulnerable, he added.

The Vietnamese ministry wants Australia to continue sharing experience in policy making so as to tackle hindrances and promote bilateral trade in agricultural products, he added.

Deputy Secretary of the Australian department David Parker said the dialogue is a chance for the two sides to enhance their access to each other’s agricultural product markets and discuss ways to raise product quality.

At the event, an Australian trade counsellor said Australia has exported a considerable volume of cattle, milk products, grapes, oranges and tangerines to Vietnam over the past years. It is considering support to people in northern Vietnam in cultivation techniques and participation in the agricultural product market.

In the last two decades, Australia has conducted studies on gum and thorn tree varieties to help with Vietnam’s afforestation. The plantation of these species has greatly contributed to the production and export of timber and wood products in Vietnam.

Australia is stepping up investment and science-technology applications in animal food production, fish and dairy cattle farming in the Southeast Asian nation. In October 2016, Vietnam’s An Vinh group also came to Australia to invest in farming cattle.

Nguyen Quy Duong, deputy head of the MARD’s Plant Protection Department, said bilateral trade in agricultural products has grown well in 2015 and 2016. Vietnam imported 35 million USD worth of fruits and vegetables from Australia between January and September this year. Meanwhile, its exports of fruits and vegetables approximated 17 million USD.

Notably, Vietnam has shipped more than 10 tonnes of mangoes since July and 30 tonnes of lychees to Australia this year, he noted.

However, the trade balance is tipping to Australia when it comes to livestock products. Vietnam has purchased a large volume of cattle but yet to export any animal products to Australia, according to deputy head of the MARD’s Animal Health Department Nguyen Thu Thuy.

Tran Dinh Luan, Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, said Vietnam has strength in aquaculture and fishing, and it hopes to export raw shrimp to Australia.

In 2015, Vietnam shipped about 500 million USD worth of agricultural products to Australia and imported the same value of agricultural products and production facilities.-VNA