December 31, 2011
Vietnam's 2011 agricultural imports jump 31.1%
Vietnam's expenditures on seafood, agro-forestry products and raw materials imports almost hit US$16 billion in 2011, surpassing 2010 by 31.1%, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In December alone, it cost the country US$1.4 billion to purchase these commodities from foreign countries, an increase of US$100 million over the previous month.
The ministry said that the amount of seafood, agro-forestry products and raw materials used to serve the agriculture, aquaculture and forestry industries had climbed sharply.
Fertilisers prices had risen the most, the ministry said.
"Around 4.4 million tons of fertilisers have been imported since the beginning of the year, totalling US$1.8 billion. This equates to an increase of 24.8% in volume and 50.9% in value in comparison with last year," it said.
The ministry added that most fertilisers were imported from China, accounting for 41.6% of total imports.
Imports of pesticide also increased, the ministry reported.
"In the first 11 months, pesticide imports hit US$631 million, up nearly 17% against the same period in 2010," it said.
Imports of timber and wood-based products also saw a yearly increase of 14% with a total value of US$13 billion, while imports of animal feed reached US$2.3 billion, up 6.8%.
"Although a predominantly agricultural country, Vietnam still had to import seeds to meet 80% of the total demand, worth US$200 million per year," said Bui Chi Buu, director of the Southern Agriculture Science and Technology Institute.
Buu said that the Southeast Asian nation still imported seeds despite the fact that it could produce its own for crops such as potatoes and cucumbers.
"We should look into ways of reducing imports," he said.
Experts said the country needed to apply modern technology to producing seafood and agro-forestry products to meet domestic demand.
Earlier the General Statistics Office estimated that the country spent US$10.443 billion for importing 10 major agricultural materials this year, rising 25.1% from 2010.