Agriculture continues to play a considerable role in Vietnam’s transition to a market-based economy, despite its shrinking portion in GDP (18.1% in 2015, compared to 16.1% in 2014). Vietnam’s strength in agricultural output is built upon a large rural base where farm and agribusiness labor accounts for 44.3% of the workforce and 65.7% of the population is located in rural areas (2015). Besides production to satisfy [increasing] domestic demand, Vietnam is also playing its part on the agricultural import and export markets. Opportunities are abundant at all levels of the value chain as levels of production continue to improve through the application of intensive farming and advanced technologies. Vietnam’s agriculture is export-focused and dominant crops include rice, coffee, rubber, and cashew. Over the past 15 years, Vietnam has significantly increased productivity in rice growing and it has become the largest rice exporter in the world. In more recent years, aquaculture and fruit production have grown substantially and are export-oriented as well. As purchasing power and consumer awareness are improving, the domestic market becomes more and more interesting. Surging domestic consumption combined with increasing demand for high value products have also pushed up imports of agricultural products into Vietnam with meat and meat products enjoying the highest growth, followed by rubber, animal feed and feed grain, sugar and cotton.

Vietnam is characterized by a certain extent of geographical specialization with specific crops concentrated in specific parts of the country such as:

  • Aquaculture areas in Mekong River Delta (Southwest)
  • Rice areas in Mekong River Delta and Red River Delta
  • Coffee areas in Central Highlands
  • Tea areas in the Northeast, Northwest and Lam Dong Province (Central Highlands)
  • Rubber areas in the Southeast
  • Fruit areas in the Mekong River Delta
  • Cacao in the Central Highlands, Mekong River Delta
  • Spices in the Central Highlands
  • Dairy in the Mekong Delta, Northwest
  • Pork in the Southest (notably Dong Nai Province)
  • Vegetables and Flowers in Lam Dong Province and Red River Delta