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When Vietnam has to import farm produce

Vietnam’s farm produce import turnover reached record highs in 2021. The country for the first time saw high exports of rice, cashew and pepper.

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The latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) showed that total import turnover of farm, forestry and seafood produce reached $39.2 billion in the first 11 months of the year, an increase of 39 percent over the same period last year. This is the year with the highest import turnover so far.

Of this, farm imports were valued at $24.9 billion, an increase of 54.2 percent. Except for livestock products, which did not see increased import turnover, other products saw significant increases: seafood produce $1.8 billion, up by 11 percent, forestry $2.88 billion, up by 18.6 percent, and input materials for domestic production, up by 33.6 percent.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said that farm produce import turnover had increased sharply this year partially because of higher input material prices in the world market.

$4 billion spent to import cashew nuts

As of mid-December, Vietnam had spent $4.119 million to import 2.83 million tons of raw cashew nuts, the highest level in history.

While imports soared, exports only brought turnover of $3.5 billion. This was the first time cashew imports exceeded exports in the last 30 years.

In mid-May, customs agencies surprised analysts when reporting imports of 836,712 tons, worth $1.4 billion of cashew nuts from Cambodia in the first four months of the year. Meanwhile, the figures were 152,000 tons and 161,000 tons in the same periods of 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Rice imports from India

The news about Vietnam, a major rice exporter, importing rice from India also surprised experts.

Indian media reported that Indian rice exports in the first three months of 2021 alone reached 247,000 tons, worth $74.8 million, an increase of 3,250 times in quantity and 554 times in value compared with the same period of 2020.

Prior to that, in 2019 and earlier, India’s exports to Vietnam were modest, from 500 tons to several thousands of tons.

Rice experts said as Indian rice is cheaper than Vietnam, businesses increased imports to make processed products and for use in the livestock industry.

Pepper imports from Cambodia

The Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA) reported that Vietnamese pepper imports from Cambodia in the first 11 months of the year soared by 111 percent over the same period last year.

VPA former Chair Nguyen Nam Hai said about 30,000 tons of pepper are imported from Cambodia to Vietnam, mostly via border gates. Cambodians have exported pepper to Vietnam through official channels over the last two years because of Covid-19. Vietnam imports pepper to process products for export. 

T. An

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