Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien was speaking at an online conference promoting agricultural production during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak held by MARD in Hanoi on March 12.
He said MARD representatives visited the US at the end of February to discuss issue of agricultural trade promotion between the two countries, including the increase of pork imports in the future.
Earlier this month, MARD leaders worked with the President of Russian Miratorg Group to increase trade activities in agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors.
The group hopes to export more pork to Vietnam this month, Tien said.
Meanwhile, the ministry has been completing procedures to import livestock from Laos and Cambodia.
According to the ministry, Vietnam purchase 65,865 tonnes of meat in the first two months this year from Brazil, Germany, Russia, Australia and the US. Of which, pork imports reached 13,816 tonnes, up 150% over the same period in 2019.
Imports also included 12,459 tonnes of buffalo meat and beef, and 26,656 tonnes of poultry.
Tien said the ministry has asked large enterprises to further reduce the price of pigs to around VND70,000 per kilo to ensure stable price on the domestic market.
Higher imports mean more supply, which will help bring the price down, he said.
The ministry would coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance to keep prices in check to prevent speculation.
At the same time, to stabilise the price, the agriculture sector needs to speed up re-production, according to the ministry. African swine fever has made national pork output reduce sharply.
The livestock sector has 2.7 million sows, meeting demand for re-production. Pork output is expected to reach about four million tonnes this year.
In addition, other kinds of livestock are expected to continue to have strong growth, including poultry with a rate of 13% and beef up 5%. The total output of poultry meat and beef is estimated to reach 1.8 million tonnes this year.
With a total meat output of 5.8 million tonnes this year, Vietnam would have enough meat supply for domestic consumption, said Nguyen Van Viet, head of MARD’s Department of Planning.
During the conference, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said localities should promote agricultural production while the ministry would take measures to control diseases. Those solutions would help prepare enough supply to meet higher demand for farming product when the epidemic ends.
The ministry would also continue developing key seafood products, such as black tiger shrimp, white-leg shrimp and tra catfish, and high-value farming products to increase commercial value.
The industry would diversify exports and develop the processing industry to raise added value, Cuong said. It would also cooperate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vietnamese embassies abroad to improve efficiency of trade promotion programmes.
Viet said the agricultural sector has seen a surplus of US$1.04 billion in the first two months of this year. It saw a year on year reduction of 6.7% in import value to US$4.3 billion and a year on year drop of 2.8% in export value to US$5.34 billion.
This year, the sector has targeted US$42 billion in total export value of farming, forestry and fishery products, including US$20 billion from farming products, US$11.5 billion from forestry and wooden products and US$10 billion from fishery products.