Fruit, veggie exports overtaking rice

14:21 | 18/03/2017 Trade

(VEN) - According to the General Statistics Office, export turnover of fruit and vegetables reached US$434 million in the first two months of the year, an increase of 31.1 percent compared to a year ago. It recorded the highest growth in the group of agricultural, forestry and fishery products. Thanks to strong growth, the US$3 billion annual target could be attainable.  

Fruit and vegetable exports have seen significant advances with a presence in nearly 60 foreign markets. In particular, Vietnam’s litchi, rambutan, dragon fruit, mango and longan have been exported to discerning markets such as the US, Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

In 2016, export turnover of fruit and vegetables surpassed that of rice for the first time ever.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s statistics reveal that more than 10,500 tonnes of fresh fruit were quarantined prior to export to the US and Japan in 2016.

In addition to good quality, the active role of businesses in seeking partners and distribution channels is believed to be contributing to the surge in exports.

Many importers in the US and Japan continue to seek Vietnamese fruit and vegetable suppliers. For example, Japan’s Meika Shoji is seeking Vietnamese banana exporters to supply a market demand of around one million tonnes a year.

The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources released the final report of a review of bio-security import requirements for fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam in January 2017. The Australian government is now taking the final steps to complete the list of conditions for dragon fruit imports from Vietnam. Once completed, the export turnover of Vietnam’s dragon fruit is forecast to increase.

There is great potential to grow the export turnover of fruit and vegetables. Fruit exports are forecast to increase three to four-fold in the coming years and this year’s target of US$3 billion in export turnover of fruit and vegetables should prove attainable.

Given that China accounts for more than 70 percent of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports, opening new markets is necessary to reducing the dependence on the Chinese market and increasing exports overall.

Experts say that to maintain high and sustainable growth, the fruit and vegetable sector needs to pay more attention to quality. In addition, businesses should invest in post-harvest processing to improve product competitiveness, while focusing on promoting brands.

Phuong Lan