Vietnamese fruit losing home advantage

09:58 | 28/05/2019 Society

(VEN) - Australia wants to promote fresh table grape exports to Vietnam. American blueberries will also enter the Vietnamese market in the near future. Foreign fruit exporters are confident of their ability to compete in quality with Vietnamese products.

An imported fruit shop

Three major grape farmers from Sunraysia - the region where 99 percent of Australia's grapes for export are grown, representing the Australian Table Grapes Association, and a delegation from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from February 28 to March 1 to introduce their high-grade products.

Vietnam currently is the seventh largest importer of Australian table grapes. Dianne Phan, Trade Lead of Hort Innovation, said that Vietnam is an important export market for Australia, and that the Australian table grape sector has carried out various activities to introduce its products to Vietnamese consumers. Australian table grape exports have grown 73 percent in the past four years, she added.

Recently, a representative of the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said American blueberries would enter the Vietnamese market in the near future. Before that, the US Department of Agriculture asked Vietnam to consider imports of various kinds of American citrus fruit.

Hoang Trung, Director of the Plant Protection Department of the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the US wants very much to export fruit to Vietnam, while imported fruit, such as American apple, cherry and Korean pear, have attracted Vietnamese consumers despite their high prices. In the context of Chinese fruit swamping the domestic market and Vietnamese fruit lacking safety due to the use of pesticides and chemicals, most high-income consumers choose to buy imported products to avoid health risks. As a result, Vietnamese fruit products are losing their competitive edge in the home market.

The sale of imported fruit is becoming increasingly widespread in Vietnam. Consumers can buy from major shops, supermarkets or websites. American yellow blueberries are sold at prices ranging from VND550,000-800,000 per kg. American Envy apples cost VND200,000 per kg. Other kinds of fruit, such as grapes, kiwi, green apples, oranges, mandarin oranges and pears, which are sold at lower prices, are available on the shelves of most Vietnamese supermarkets.

Vietnamese fruit is losing its advantage despite reasonable prices. Dragon fruit, watermelon, longans, litchis and other kinds of fruit continue facing price drops during bumper crops. Vietnamese vegetables and fruit are facing challenges as importing countries have tightened their regulations on import conditions and food safety. Experts believe ensuring product safety is important for helping Vietnam promote fruit exports and restore the competitiveness of its fruit in the home market.

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development data show that Vietnam exported US$3.8 billion worth of fruit and

vegetables in 2018, an increase of 8.9 percent compared with 2017. Also in 2018, Vietnam spent US$1.74 billion on

fruit and vegetable imports, 12.3 percent more than in 2017.

Thanh Ha