|Mr. Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development (MARD).|
Mr. Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development (MARD), said that in order to keep the market and affirm the prestige and position of Vietnamese agricultural products, it is important to ensure good quality as well as stable product supply.
Recently, many durian shipments have been smoothly exported to China. In addition to durian, what is the opportunity to increase the official export of agricultural products to China?
In recent years, the Chinese market has had strict requirements on risk assessment related to plant quarantine across industries, especially for tropical fruits and vegetables.
Durian is the first Chinese product to apply new regulations in inspecting growing areas and packing facilities by online form, officially opening the export door for Vietnamese durians to the Chinese market.
These are also good signs in the opening of the market for other agricultural products. In the future, there may be items such as purple sweet potatoes, coconuts, avocados, etc., which will continue to be considered open by China.
In your opinion, what are the outstanding weaknesses of exporting agricultural products, especially vegetables and fruits?
In recent years, fruit and vegetable exports have made great progress. However, it must be recognized that many exported fruits and vegetables have not really built a good production process associated with products to serve export needs.
In addition, the quality of Vietnamese goods has not been uniform, leading to sometimes opening the market but not enough supply for the market, creating disruption. This greatly affects the development of the market as well as affirming the position and brand of the product in the import market. It is a matter to consider, how harmonization is produced in different regions.
For example, durian was officially exported to China, but durian was produced in scattered seasons, from April, May to November, and December. Each region has a different durian season. In lowland areas like Khanh Hoa, durian usually ripens earlier, then to areas like Lam Dong and Dak Lak, then to higher areas like Gia Lai, and then back to low areas in the Mekong Delta such as Ben Tre, Tien Giang.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the area and output to supply in accordance with the regulations of the market, in accordance with the code of the growing area, and the code of the packing establishment.
On that basis, Vietnamese durian can affirm its position in the Chinese market. Currently, not only Vietnam exports durian to China but also to Thailand and Malaysia. In the near future, China will also consider opening up durians from Cambodia and the Philippines, leading to more intense competition.
Many argue that besides promoting agricultural trade to foreign markets through participation in international fairs, Vietnam also needs to promote the opening of Vietnam’s international fairs to attract foreign investors coming to Vietnam. What do you think about this?
The State, specifically the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which is the main focal point, has coordinated many activities with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in promoting trade for fruit and vegetable products at international fairs. This activity takes place every year.
However, Vietnam is a large exporter of agricultural products but has not had any activities to attract customers as well as importers to Vietnam. Currently, Vietnam mainly brings products to fairs to introduce products. Vietnam also needs international fairs, such as the International Agricultural Fair in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has had an international agricultural exhibition program, but in fact, many countries importing agricultural products from Vietnam have not really paid attention and need to promote this activity further. It is necessary to organize international activities in Vietnam to attract importers as well as trade partners of Vietnam, especially when Vietnam is implementing many Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and has tax advantages.
Opening the export market for agricultural products is difficult, keeping the market is considered even more difficult. Do you have any advice for businesses as well as farmers in this regard?
The opening of the agricultural export market takes a lot of time. China in recent years has required a risk assessment to open up. Markets such as the US, Australia, Japan, and Korea are even more difficult. Even Vietnam has to make a trade-off when it comes to allowing what products to put into the Vietnamese market and what products they allow Vietnam to bring into their market.
A large market like China and other export markets, in the future, in order to build a stable export market, the first is to ensure product quality, food hygiene and safety. The use of agrochemicals must be monitored in all stages of cultivation, not only with durian but with all other fruits that have been allowed to be exported to the Chinese market. On that basis, these products are affirmed in the Chinese market, Vietnam’s products and goods are of high quality and safe.
In fact, in recent years, China has increased the inspection of problems related to microbiological contamination, and contamination of agro-pharmaceutical chemicals on products. In the future, if they strengthen the inspection, it will be very difficult for Vietnamese products to meet the requirements.