Diversifying markets – solution to boost fruit, vegetable exports hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Actively seeking new potential markets while maintaining foothold in traditional ones is a solution to help the agricultural sector keep its growth momentum and raise export value, experts said at a forum for exporters of fruit and vegetable held in HCM City on February 27.  

Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, underlined the leaping development of the fruit and vegetable industry in recent years, earning the country billions of USD.

According to Hoa, Vietnam has many opportunities to increase its share of the world market for fruit and vegetable. He noted that while Vietnam is among the top 15 exporters of farm produce, its export of fruit and vegetable accounts for just under 1 percent of world demand.

At the same time, the sector is facing many problems, from domestic ones like backward techniques in farming, preserving to processing, to outside barriers such as strict regulations on food safety and plant quarantine in import markets.   

The biggest market for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables – China - has also imposed many non-tariff barriers, resulting in a 13 percent decrease in Vietnam’s shipments of fruit and vegetables to this market, and a 1.7 percent reduction in the total export value of those products in 2019.

To regain the growth momentum and raise export value, experts said exporters should quickly change their approach to traditional export markets and proactively seek inroad into other potential markets.  

According to Nguyen Minh Phuong, Director of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Middle East and Africa are two new markets with great potential. Those two markets have large populations and depend on imports for farm produce.

She mentioned the differences in culture, religion and customers’ habits in those two markets, and reminded exporters to study carefully the demand in order to supply suitable products.

Meanwhile, many businesses are pinning hope on the EU market given the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement is expected to take effect soon.

Jos Leeters, Director of Bureau Leeters company, shared the view on the great potential of the EU market, but stressed that this market has high standards for product quality

Participants at the forum said diversifying markets requires both farmers and export businesses to quickly change their way of operation to meet the demand of many markets. They agreed that only when products can meet the increasing high demand of consumers then can the sector achieve sustainable development./.