High hopes for 2017 vegetable, fruit exports

12:18 | 14/05/2017 Trade

(VEN) - Vegetable and fruit exports continue to grow in the second quarter of this year, auguring well for the US$3-billion vegetable and fruit export target set for 2017.  

Deep processing should be developed to diversify fruit and vegetable exports

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), starting from January 19, 2018, star apple fruits from Vietnam are licensed to enter the US market. This is the fifth Vietnamese fruit to be licensed for sale to the US, which is now considering licensing fresh mango imports from Vietnam.

Data compiled by the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that in the first quarter, Vietnam exported fruits and vegetables worth US$700.06 million, up 29.8 percent from the same period last year. At the same time it imported fruits and vegetables worth US$230.4 million, up 47.3 percent, recording a trade deficit of US$470.1 million.

Vietnamese vegetables and fruits have been exported to more than 60 countries and territories worldwide, with China becoming the biggest importer (accounting for 73.1 percent of Vietnam’s vegetable and fruit export value), followed by the US (3.54 percent), Japan (3.01 percent), and the Republic of Korea (2.99 percent).

Fruit and vegetable exports are expected to reach US$3 billion in 2017, 25 percent higher than 2016. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, this target is feasible for two reasons: 1) the export market is growing as Vietnam signs, implements and negotiates 16 free trade agreements with more than 50 countries and economies worldwide; 2) the price of farm produce has tended to increase due to growing demand. Farm produce exports in general, and fruit and vegetable exports in particular, usually peak from the second quarter to the end of the year so the potential for increased exports is significant.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been working with relevant agencies of importing countries to speed up the review of pest risk analysis (PRA) in order to obtain official import licenses for some Vietnamese fruits and vegetables in 2017: mango exports to the US; mangosteen, green grapefruit, custard apple, passion fruit, rose apple and coconut exports to China; litchi and longan exports to Japan; star apple, rambutan, passion fruit, litchi and longan exports to the Republic of Korea; longan and passion fruit exports to Australia; rambutan, litchi, longan and star apple exports to New Zealand; and rambutan, longan, litchi, grapefruit and dragon fruit exports to Latin American markets such as Brazil, Argentina and Peru.

The Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association says that apart from fresh fruits, businesses should develop deep processing and vegetable and fruit drying to diversify and add value to products.

Vietnam exported vegetables and fruits worth US$2.4 billion in 2016, up 31.2 percent from 2015. Fruit and vegetable exports

for the first time exceeded one of the country’s export giants - rice exports (US$2.2 billion) - in terms of value, and equaled

coffee exports, while far exceeding rubber, tea and cashew exports in terms of growth.

Phuong Lan