11:02 | 04/05/2015 Trade
The six countries forming the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and Oman – depend on imports for 80-90 per cent of their food as a large part of their land areas are desolate.
Due to the arid climate of the deserts, it is practically impossible for the countries to become self-sufficient in growing fruit and vegetables, according to the Africa, West and South Asia Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
As a result food production is always a problem with the end result that the six countries import large volumes of soy protein, corn, vegetables, fruit, fruit juices, chocolate, and grains. In the UAE, in particular, there is great demand for organic fruit and vegetables.
However, despite the potential for Vietnam fruit and vegetable exports to get a stronghold in the region, sales have shown insignificant growth and overall exports have remained modest the MoIT said.
Of the nations, Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of fruit and vegetables with sales reaching more than US$9 million, followed by the UAE at US$7.5 million. These two markets combined account for nearly 80% of fruit and vegetable exports to all GCC countries.
Source VOV News
Overall the sales of fruit and vegetables to all six GCC nations reached US$31.9 million for 2014.
The department said the export of these products remains unimpressive as Vietnamese farmers and processors have not devoted adequate resources to nurturing the market. In addition, Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exporters face fierce competition from nations with advanced technologies and more favourable locations such as Turkey, Egypt and Thailand.
The MoIT added that if Vietnamese fruit and vegetable grower and processors would invest in equipping the industry with state of the art canning and processing technologies and devise an appropriate marketing strategy, they will find huge opportunities in the GCC markets.