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Vietnam. Agricultural imports rise

13.07.2010 09:07 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Imported fertiliser is loaded onto a truck for delivery at Sai Gon Port. Import value of agricultural materials and products in the first half of the year increased sharply due to rising demand and prices. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan Import value of agricultural materials and products in the first half of the year sharply increased because of the rising demand and prices, reported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. During this time, the country spent US$6.38 billion to import these products, up 36.3 per cent over the same period last year, the ministry reported. Wheat reached the highest growth in both import value and volume. In six months, Viet Nam imported 1.2 million tonnes of wheat, worth $289 million. These numbers represented an increase of 70 per cent compared with the last half year. Second highest growth was recorded by the wood and wood-based product sector. In the first two quarters, the country paid $487 million to import wood and wood-based products, up by 29.5 per cent over the first half of 2009. According to the ministry, these products were mostly imported from China and the US. Pesticides and other materials cost $286 million, up 24.6 per cent. The ministry also reported an increase in some agricultural products including pork, fruit and vegetables. About 60,000 tonnes of pork was imported in the first six months of this year, a dramatic increase on last year’s annual total of 90,000 tonnes. This indicates improved demand and concern over domestic pork produce in the aftermath of Blue-ear Pig disease. Living standards improved so there was increased demand for high-quality fruit and vegetables. In particular products from the US and Australia found favour with consumers. Fertiliser bucked the trend with a downturn in both import value and volume. The first half of the year saw a 50 per cent reduction compared to the same period last year. Many companies stopped importing fertiliser because of high prices, said the ministry. High import value on agricultural products was a big surprise to many people because Viet Nam is an agricultural country. However, to some experts this situation is likely to continue in the future. «The situation will continue in the next 5–10 years. The country will still have to import materials such as fertiliser and pesticide to produce key agricultural products,» said Pham Tat Thang, an expert from the Ministry of Industry and Trade. To avoid this situation, Thang suggested the application of advanced technologies to improve the quality of agricultural products. An effort needed to be made to broaden production and prioritise special agricultural and aquaculture products to meet domestic demand. «Ministries and sectors should care about the quality of domestic products and food hygiene,» he concluded. — VNS

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