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Vietnam Agriculture in 2020 to Overcome Its Double Challenges as Covid-19 Pandemic & Climate Change
Thursday, 2021/01/14 | 08:15:31


The COVID-19 pandemic has, with alarming speed, delivered a global economic shock of enormous magnitude, leading to steep recessions in many countries. All have provided large-scale macroeconomic support to alleviate the economic blow, which has contributed to a recent stabilization in financial markets. The spread of the pandemic has essentially halted international travel and disrupted global value chains, resulting in a sharp contraction in global trade.  In Vietnam, the real GDP growth in 2020 reached 2.91% (General Statistics Office of Vietnam) to be an impressive achievement. Viet people have had to work very hard to limit COVID-19's damaging effects on food security and nutrition successfully.

In addition, natural disasters like storms, floods and drought caused damage worth VND 37.4 trillion ($1.6 billion) in 2020, five times last year's losses. The Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control announced that we left 357 people dead or missing. Vietnam was hit by 14 storms and several depressions that triggered heavy flooding and landslides this year. Especially, the central region was hit by historic flooding between late September and mid-November. Linfa, which made landfall over the central region on October 11, brought heavy rains, floods and landslides that killed at least 130 people, destroyed 1,000 houses and inundated 120,000 others, prompting the government to call for removing it from the list of storm names in the western Pacific due to the destruction it wreaked. Otherwise, the Mekong Delta continued suffering severe drought and salt intrusion in early 2020. Salt intrusion moved 50-110 km into major rivers in the delta, even deeper than in 2016 when the delta recorded the worst drought in a century. The lack of freshwater lasted more than six months, leaving 80,000 families high and dry, and damaged 43,000 hectares of paddy.


The GDP per capita in 2020 is $2,750 with the population of 97 million people. It is estimated to increase 120 million people in 2050. Today, 70% of the population is under 35 years of age, with a life expectancy of 76 years. However, we are tackling challenges including vulnerability to climate change and rapid ageing. Vietnam ranks 47 out of 157 countries on the human capital index (HCI) according to the World Bank.


Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink from about 46.3% in 1988 down to 15% in 2020. Although the COVID-19 outbreak, the Vietnam agriculture sector has been hit hardest by the pandemic, the agriculture sector has increased by 2.75 percent as compared to 2019; including crop products and husbandry of of 2.7%, forestry of 2.4% and fishery of 3.3%. Agro GDP increased 2.65%.


The export turnover of agriculture obtained $US 41.25 billion (2.6% increased); including agro-products ($18.49 B), husbandry products ($0.32 B), aqua-products ($8.38 B) and processed wood & furniture products ($13.17 B). The trade surplus in term of agriculture got $USD 10.29 billion.


The conversion of rice cultivated areas with low economic efficiency into other crops, fishery, orchards, etc. was recognized as 128,000 ha, including 99,000 ha and 29,000 ha in South and North, respectively.



Rice growing areas developed 7.28 million ha (192 thousand Ha decreased) with rice production of 42.77 million T (687 thousand T decreased) and average yield of 5.87 t/ha (0.05 T increased). The milled rice export of 6.34 million T (3.9% increased) obtained the turnover value of $US 3.07 billion with recorded average price of $ 496 / T.


Maize growing area is 0.943 million ha (4.7% decreased) with average yield of 4.87 t/ha (0.05 T/ha increased). Total maize production gained 4.59 million T (3% decreased).


Soybean growing area is 41,700 ha (15.8% decreased) with the production of 65,700 T (15% decreased).


Cassava growing area is 524,000 ha; with the average yield of 20.0 T/Ha and total production of 10.48 million T (3.1% increased). The export turnover of cassava products obtained the value of USD 989 million.


Sweet potato growing area is 109,100 ha to obtained 1.37 million T, with the average yield of 12.6 t/ha.


Groundnut growing area covered 169,500 ha (4.1% decreased) with the production of 425,500 T (3.9% decreased) and average yield of 2.51 t/ha.


Vegetable areas increased up to 975,000 ha (10,600 ha increased) with the production of 18.0 million T (21.11% increased). The export turnover of vegetable obtained $USD 658 million


Fruit orchards developed 1.1 million ha (32,800 ha increased). Production of mango obtained 880,000 T (4.9% increased), orange: 1.1 million T (8.14% increased), pomelo: 830,000 T (12.1% increased), banana: 2.29 million T, dragon fruit: 1.36 million T (8.8%), litchi: 310,000 T (15% increased), durian: 630,000 T (11.6% increased), pineapple: 710,000 T. The export turnover of fruit obtained $ 2.425 billion. Especially the citrus farms of five recent years have continuously increased 10% and 12% for harvested areas and production, respectively.


Coffee growing areas is 680 thousand ha (8,700 ha decreased) including harvested areas of 632 thousand Ha. Coffee bean production offered 1.0 million T (6,030 T increased). The export turnover of coffee offered $US 2.658 billion.


Tea growing area is 121,000 ha including the harvested areas of 198,000 ha. The total production obtained 1 million T (1,360 T increased). The export turnover of tea gained $US 220 million.


Rubber area is 935,000 Ha (6,260 ha decreased) including harvest areas of 730,000 Ha. Total latex production obtained 1.2 million T (36,840 T increased). The export turnover of rubber obtained $US 2.382 billion (8.3% increased).


Cashew nut cultivated area is 298,000 ha (72,640 ha increased) including harvested areas of 279,000 ha. The total production obtained 333,800 T (50,470 T increased) with productivity of 1.2 t/ha. The export turnover of cashew nut products offered $US 3.188 billion.


Black pepper growing areas are promoted over 130,000 ha (10,200 ha decreased) including harvested areas of 110,000 Ha. Pepper production obtained 268,000 T (3,500 T increased) with productivity of 2.44 t/ha. The export turnover of black pepper offered $US 0.666 billion.


Sugarcane decreased up to 127,000 Ha (today harvested area) to obtain roughly 762,000 T. However, the sugar price increased up to VND 14,000 / kg as compared to VND 10,000 in 2019. It is a new event for the sugar industry. 


Due to African swine fever virus, the heads of pig obtained 26.17 million heads with meat product of 3.46 million T. Total meat production in 2020 obtained 5.39 million T. Up to now the communes with free African swine fever have accounted for 96%.


VietGAHP protocol has been extensively applied to piggery and poultry of 17% and 31%, respectively. Hybrid pig and hybrid bovine accounted for 93.5% and 62.5%, respectively.



There are 2.41 million heads of buffalo and 5.87 million heads of bovine in the country to obtain beef production of 96,000 T and 372,500 T, respectively. In addition, 346,5000 milky cows produced their milk products of 1.086 million T.


There are 496 million heads of poultry including 396 million of chicken to offer meat production of 1.42 million T, egg production of 14.5 billion egg unit. Honeybee production effort reached to 23,500 T. Vietnam produced 20.5 million T of feedstuff for husbandry. The export turnover of meat addressed US$ 0.327 billion. The 2020 import volume of meet is 212,5000 T (5.6 % of total meat production).


Aqua-production obtained 8.4 million T (1.9% increased). Culture products gained 4.56 million T (1.4% increased). Nature products obtained 3.84 million T (2.5% increased). Brackish shrimp culture of 915,500 T (7.3% decreased); Pangasius fish of 1,5 million T (4.8% decreased). Total value of aqua-products increased 3.3% as compared to 2019. The total turnover offered $USD 8.38 billion including shrimp and Pangasius of $3.75 B and $1.63 B, respectively.


In 2020, newly reforested areas reached to 220,000 Ha. The well-managed forest areas obtained 530,000 Ha. Beside that 200,000 Ha was replanted. The certified and controlled economic wood farms accounted for 90% (12.2% increased as compared to 2015). Wood production from economic forests was 20.5 million cubic meters. Total forest product value is $USD 13.17 billion including cinnamon, processed wood and rattan-bamboo of $USD 243, 12,323 and 607 million, respectively.


Salt-marsh areas developed 11,926 ha. Salt production obtained 1.33 million T (33.5% increased). 


In 2020, some economic groups focussed their investment of VND 20,000 billion for agro-product processing industry with 17 projects (VND 6,000 billion increased as compared to 2019). Thanks are due to agro-processing technologies so that the value addition  has positively promoted to meet the new demands by diverse markets under Covid 19 influence.


Water irrigation potential meets the demand of 7.5 million ha of rice growing area (total 7.28 million ha). Water reservoirs obtained 6,750 lakes with the potential of 14,500 billion m3 (1.3 billion m3 increased).



In 2020, there are 17,300 modern cooperatives including 15,000 effective units; 68 Unions of agri-cooperative farms. There are 1,718 hi-tech agriculture cooperatives. There are 34,348 agro-farms occupied 36,000 ha with diverse products. Big and famous entreprises can be cited as Vinamilk, Nafoods, TH, Dabaco Việt Nam, Masan, Lavifood, Ba Huân, Biển Đông. They are key contributors in Vietnam agriculture development. In 2020, 1,055 entreprises were newly established to get the total number of 13,280 enterprises. It is holistic in its vision, bringing together the goals of the urban food agenda with the socioeconomic-environmental-spiritual nexus. Officially designated a “multi-stakeholder alliance,” the situation has also been described as a “network of networks” to strengthen agro-food systems. It has attracted interest from many private and public sectors in an effort to raise awareness, mobilize financial resources and technical expertise, and source innovation and knowledge in support of those most in need. We have “matchmaking” platform between donor and recipient units in pursuit of tailored food security goals – took a qualitative leap this year.


Vietnam continues his attempting to meet the 2021 objetives as: (i) 2.7 – 3.0% GDP increased; (ii) 2.8-3.1% agriculture sector value increased; (iii) more $USD 42 billion of export turnover; (iii) 70% new rural communes; (iv) 91% rural using clean water; (v) forest covering 42%.  Việt Nam's agricultural sector has to improve its production quality and expand markets to other countries, next year.


Prof. Dr. Bui Chi Buu

January 2021


(All statistical figures are highlighted from the MARD review in December 2020, and the General Statistics Office ).

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