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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     28  December 2010

Vietnamese farm exports hit record high

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This year's export of agricultural produce was estimated to reach a record high US$19.15 billion, an increase of 22.6 percent on last year, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang at a conference to review the sector in Hanoi.

He said that three export items had surpassed the $3 billion threshold this year: seafood, timber products and rice.

The product which had seen the most significant increase in market value was rubber latex. This year, Vietnam exported a total of 773,000 tonnes for a turnover of $2.32 billion. "A 5.7-percent increase in volume translated into a remarkable 89 percent rise in value," Thang said.

Rubber prices have steadily increased this year to reach $5,000 per tonne.

Le Quang Thung, chairman of the Viet Nam Rubber Group's board, said the price had been higher than in recent years because many manufacturers had produced less rubber volume, while the rubber latex demand remained high, especially for the auto tire production sector in China, India, Japan and South Korea.

Similarly, the prices of pepper, cashew and cocoa had risen sharply. In the first quarter of the year, the pepper price was about $2,000 a tonne, but it had risen to $5,000 per tonne. During the last months of the year, the world's pepper volume in storage was small and the main harvest was just beginning while consumption demands had increased sharply recently.

The Vietnam Food Association increased the floor price for rice exports six times this year. With a price increase of agricultural products for exports, the coffee, cashew and pepper farmers can earn a profit of VND40-100 million ($2,000 - $5,000) per hectare this year after submitting expenses.

According to projections by the General Statistics Office, agriculture's contribution to the gross domestic product increased by 2.8 percent this year and its total production value rose by 4.69 percent.

Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development Dang Kim Son said advances in the agriculture sector could be traced back to the high demands of the global market and the improving quality of Vietnamese agricultural products.

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