The agricultural sector has maintained growth in the first half of this year despite facing difficulties, especially the African swine fever epidemic which had a heavy impact on the domestic animal husbandry sector.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến made the statement at a press conference on June 17 about the sector’s production and business in the first half of the year.
In the first six months of the year, the sector’s agricultural production value was estimated at 2.7-2.9 per cent higher than the same period last year. Of which, growth reached 1.68 per cent in farming, 4.53 per cent in forestry and 6.5 per cent in fisheries.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the total export value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products in the first six months rose 2.1 per cent year-on-year to US$19.75 billion.
Of which, the export value of major farming products dropped by 8.8 per cent year-on-year to $9.33 billion, meanwhile value surged by 1.8 per cent to $311 million for livestock products, 0.7 per cent to $4 billion for seafood products and 21.2 per cent to $5.27 billion for forestry products.
The forestry export value included $4.9 billion from wood and wood products, up by 20 per cent, and $236 million from rattan and bamboo products, up by 55.7 per cent.
Tiến said during the six months, seafood output was estimated at 3.78 million tonnes, up 6.2 per cent over the same period last year, including 1.92 million tonnes from domestic aquaculture. Tra fish output in the Mekong Delta reached 684,000 tonnes, up 6.4 per cent and shrimp output was 278,000 tonnes, up 6.9 per cent.
The structure of commodities for production and export has changed to increase the quantity of advantageous and high-quality products such as seafood (especially brackish water shrimp), vegetables, flowers, fruits, industrial trees with high value, furniture and forest products.
However, the agricultural sector in the first six months faced many challenges such as unusual weather, saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta, as well as drought in the Central Highlands and South Central Coast, he said.
Many agricultural, forestry and fishery products declined in price while development of the African swine fever epidemic had hit the output of pork.
The sector had worked to develop cattle, poultry and aquatic farming to make up for a possible pork shortage at the end of this year as a result of the African swine fever epidemic, Tiến said.
Data from the General Statistics Office showed that the number of cattle farmed nationwide had increased by 2.9 per cent while the amount of live cattle sold for meat was about 193,000 tonnes, up 4 per cent from a year earlier, thanks to good consumption and high prices which have encouraged farming.
The number of farmed poultry has risen by 11-12 per cent as there were no epidemics.
Meanwhile, good growth has also been recorded in fisheries and it is hoped to reach 6.5-6.7 per cent in 2019.
Highlighting the growth in overseas shipments, the official said the export target of $43 billion for this year is high but still achievable, adding that the proportion of high-quality products in agricultural production and exports has increased.