Farm produce exports to discerning markets grow

08:38 | 20/04/2018 Trade

(VEN) - A number of discerning foreign markets have accepted fruit and vegetable imports from Vietnam, opening up opportunities for the country to increase farm produce exports.

farm produce exports to discerning markets grow
Cat Chu mangos, grown in the southern Dong Thap Province, have been exported to many countries worldwide

Tripling domestic price

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, vegetables and fruits continue to be one of the highest growth exports in 2018, yielding US$220 million in February and US$604 million in the first two months of this year, up 18 and 43.4 percent from the same time last year, respectively.

Vietnamese fruits and vegetables have attracted importers from not only traditional markets but also discerning markets. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department, Vietnamese businesses for the first time exported star apples to the US in December 2017 and have sold about 230 tonnes of star apples to that market as of the end of February 2018. They are expected to begin exporting mangos to the US and longan to Australia in April 2018 and early 2019, respectively.

Since Vietnamese lychees reached the Australian market in 2015, the product has been accepted by many other foreign markets including France, Malaysia and Thailand. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Head of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia, said the opening of many new export markets and domestic southern markets for lychees increased the average price of the fruit by VND3,000 per kilogram in 2015, and with an output of nearly 200,000 tonnes per year, lychees have brought in large revenues.

Lo Ren Vinh Kim star apple growers from Tien Giang Province’s Chau Thanh District – the first area in Vietnam licensed to export star apples to the US – said they have to abide by strict cultivation processes to ensure their star apples meet importers’ quality requirements. This allows them to sell their products to the US at a price triple that of the domestic average.

Quality maintenance

Thuy said opening a market is difficult but maintaining a market is much harder. She said after succeeding in exporting the first batch of lychees to Australia in 2015, businesses increased lychee exports to that market but faced pest and premature fruit problems that caused them to reduce product price and had a negative impact on importers.

She advised exporters to prioritize quality and prestige improvement, carefully study customer tastes and invest in branding if they are to succeed in trading with discerning markets.

The US has become the second largest importer of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables after China, followed by Japan, Australia, Canada and France.

Phuong Lan