17:22 | 18/03/2016 Trade
The Vietnamese banana industry has seen a relatively sharp increase in export prices since early this year due to surging demand on international markets.
A Japanese customer is buying bananas in the Central Highlands Lam Đong province — Photo baolamdong.vn
Tran Danh The, Director of Ðong Nai-based Tran The Biology Company, which specialises in biological research and the production of bananas, said there has been a price hike in exported bananas.
But Viet Nam's banana industry is facing stiff competition from the Philippines, the dominant supplier of fresh bananas to Japan, South Korea, China and New Zealand.
The hike in banana prices in the south is also reflected in the northern regions.
In addition, due to low banana prices last year, many farmers reduced their plantation area, exacerbating low supplies this year.
According to a representative of the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production, Viet Nam is a tropical country and also home to many precious banana plants. Banana plants are cultivated over large areas with high yield. Areas under banana cultivation account for 19 per cent of Viet Nam's total fruit plant area, with an annual output of about 1.4 million tonnes.
Explaining the low supply, the representative said Viet Nam's banana plantations are not always planned in the best areas. Viet Nam's preservation technologies have yet to meet international requirements, so it is often impossible to keep the fruit looking good.
Thus, only a relatively few Vietnamese products have been licensed to penetrate high-end markets, including the Japanese market. In a bid to improve the status quo, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has identified five key plantation areas for growing export bananas, including the Northern Midland and Mountainous region, the Red River Delta, the Central Coastal region, the Southeastern region and the Mekong Delta
Banana growers and exporters need to apply scientific knowledge and advanced technologies in the planting, harvesting, storage and preservation of bananas to improve fruit quality and productivity.
To help the bananas industry gain a firmer foothold in the global market, Viet Nam should formulate appropriate policies and measures to meet regional and international criteria, which will enable more Vietnamese bananas to reach world markets./.