Global Agriculture

Expanding agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Malaysia

22 July 2023, Vietnam: On July 19 afternoon, MARD Deputy Minister Hoang Trung meets and greets Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Malaysia, Chan Foong Hin

Discussing agricultural development in Vietnam, Deputy Minister Hoang Trung states that in the past years, the whole industry has faced many difficulties, such as natural disasters, climate change, the pandemic, complicated market barriers, etc. However, MARD has strived to find solutions, proactively improved environmental protection, and food security, and sought to penetrate larger markets. In 2022, the growth rate of the agricultural sector will reach 3.36%, of which the export turnover of the entire agricultural, forestry, and fishery industries reached 53.2 billion USD.

Importantly, trading between Vietnam and Malaysia establishes a foundation to promote Vietnam’s economy. The 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on agriculture cooperation between Vietnam and Malaysia has provided favorable conditions to develop fields of cultivation, husbandry, fisheries, and agro-processing.

Trade activities are balanced and beneficial to both countries. In 2022, the agricultural import-export turnover between Vietnam and Malaysia reached 1.56 billion USD, of which the total import turnover from Malaysia is more than 752 million USD. The positive numbers open up opportunities for comprehensive cooperation in producing and trading agricultural products between the two countries.

Over the years, the MARD and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Malaysia have exchanged much information about plant and animal protection. At the same time, three exchange subgroups were established, although collaborative activities were limited and interrupted by the pandemic.

Similar to Vietnam, Malaysia’s strengths lie in agriculture. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, when he took office last November, set five goals to develop agriculture: ensuring food security; expanding cow farming; developing corn cultivation; modernizing technologies; and enhancing the quality of agricultural institutions.

Deputy Minister Chan Foong Hin appreciates the bilateral cooperation and acknowledges that trade activities between the two sides have contributed to national economic growth. The Malaysian leader is also attentive to the issues of environmental protection and food security.

In addition, Deputy Minister Chan Foong Hin commands the effectiveness of the 2014 MoU and wishes to strengthen cooperation in the agricultural sector in the near future. Significantly, 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which is a good time for boosting bilateral cooperation.

In particular, Mr. Chan Foong Hin hoped that the Veterinarian Departments of the two countries would converse regarding the market structure and quality control of agricultural products. He hopes Malaysian enterprises will soon export to Vietnam, frozen meat products. He is also pleased to announce that Vietnam’s fresh chili products have completed the necessary procedures and will soon be imported into Malaysia.

Furthermore, the Malaysian agricultural industry wishes to receive the help and guidance of Vietnamese leaders and experts on knowledge and technology for coffee production and cultivation.

Affirming the Malaysian agricultural leader, Deputy Minister Hoang Trung entirely agrees to work together, initiate dialogue, and handle outstanding issues to further collaborate in the future, ultimately signing a new MoU for the agricultural sector. He looks forward to information exchange on new technologies, methodologies, and knowledge of cultivation and food processing.

The Deputy Minister proposed to appoint a representative from each country so that they could review the previous MoU and then construct a new MoU. He also assigns the Veterinarian Department of Vietnam to actively converse with Malaysian leaders regarding importing poultry from Malaysia, risk assessment, and other cross-border trading requirements.

Finally, Deputy Minister Hoang Trung mentions the EC’s regulation against IUU fisheries. He hopes that the Malaysian side would cooperate in implementing and complying with this regulation, setting up a hotline to handle issues that may arise in international waters.

Malaysian Deputy Minister Chan Foong Hin assigns the national counselor of agriculture to be the main person in contact with Vietnam in developing a new MoU. He also agrees with setting up a hotline to stay in contact regarding the IUU implementation in international waters.

The meeting on July 19 allows both national agriculture ministries to set a common ground, establish further coordination, strengthen the market, improve cultivation and technologies, and exchange knowledge. These conditions allow both countries to work toward mutual goals, including food security, nutritional balance, and sustainable development in the context of climate change, among others

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