Illustrative photo (Source:VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – More than 100 tonnes of dragonfruit have hit the shelves of retail chain BigC in Thailand, the first step to boost the shipment of Vietnamese farm produce to one of the world’s biggest agricultural producers, the Cong Thuong (Industry & Trade) newspaper reported.

Vietnam’s fruit and vegetables were shipped to over 40 countries and territories, bringing home about 2 billion USD, in 2015. Though this revenue is an impressive figure compared to other agricultural exports, it is still modest when taking into account the global fruit and vegetable market, which has a trading value of 100 billion USD each year.

Vietnam has touched just a small part of the world’s vegetable market, agricultural specialist Nguyen Dinh Bich said, adding that this is a big opportunity but also a considerable challenge to Vietnamese farm produce.

Dragonfruit currently makes up 40 percent of Vietnam’s total fruit export turnover, he noted.

After buying wholesaler Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam in January 2016, Thailand’s TCC Holding group has been looking for Vietnam’s flagship agricultural products for export to its homeland.

Phidsanu Pongwatana, who is in charge of TCC’s retail system in Vietnam, said: “The first batches of Vietnam’s dragonfruit satisfied Thai consumers with their freshness. The market’s demand for this product is very high. TCC hopes to increase the exports of this fruit to Thailand in the future.”

The firm is also seeking suppliers of sweet potato, starfruit, orange, avocado and lime. Da Lat flowers and frozen catfish products from Vietnam also hold potential in the market, he added.

Cao Thanh Phat Export – Import Co. Ltd, based in the central province of Binh Thuan – a dragonfruit growing hub of Vietnam, provided the 100 tonnes of the fruit for TCC.

Its Managing Director Nguyen Cong Kinh said Thailand is a leading exporter of farm produce in the world. Vietnamese goods must be of high quality to enter this market.

The company has contracted farmers whose production activities follow the Vietnamese and Global Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP and GlobalGAP), he said, noting that its packaging factory has met US standards. The firm also has quality control staff to ensure product quality.

Many agricultural experts said it is not easy for Vietnamese fruits to make inroads into Thailand, but there are plenty of opportunities as bilateral trade relations are expanding, especially as the two countries are now members of the ASEAN Economic Community.-VNA