Agricultural exports during the last fiscal year 2016-2017 fetched over US$2.93 billion, which is up by over US$315million compared to that of the previous year and accounted for 25 per cent of the total export volume, according to statistics released yesterday by the Commerce Ministry.
The agricultural exports included 1.75million tonnes of rice and broken rice, which earned US$554million, while 1.43million tonnes of various peas fetched US$1.40 billion. Also exported to foreign countries were 1.4million tonnes of rubber worth about US$ 200 million, over 100,000 tonnes of sesame seeds worth US$147million, 1.3million tonnes of maize worth US$253million and over 1million tonnes of various foods worth US$178million.
To boost agricultural production, the country is tackling the challenges of erratic weather, capacity and technical know-how to produce value-added products and dependence on foreign market demand. The issue of high transportation costs, which cause problems in the supply chain, is also being addressed so as to keep up with the countries in the region.
The country’s exports cannot be dependent only on natural resources and the agro industry, but also on fishery exports, the Cutting, Making, Packing (CMP) garment export and re-export sectors should also play an important role.
During fiscal year 2016-2017, the export of natural gas was down by US$1.4billion, while the value of jade and mineral exports were found to have a decrease of US$190million when compared to those of the previous fiscal year.
The fisheries export value was over US$581million and the export value of CMP garment products reached US$1.84 billion. The export value during last FY totaled over US$11billion, according to the Commerce Ministry.