Export of Tet specialties to serve overseas Vietnamese has dipped in volume this year because of the economic downturn, the Sai Gon Tiep Thi newspaper reported on Dec.26.

Tran Thanh Toan, owner of Tran Gia company in southern Dong Nai province, said it is the sixth year that Tran Gia is sending “banh chung” (square glutinous rice cake) abroad.

The company typically exports more than 20 tonnes of “banh chung” (square glutinous rice cake), “banh tet” (cylindrical glutinous rice cake) and “banh gai” (glutinous rice cake blackened in a concoction of edible leaves) to Europe and the US .

However, “banh chung” orders have decreased by 20 percent over the same period of last year, he said.

Other companies say the same thing. The Tri Duc and Thanh Long companies produced about 80 and 150 tonnes of “mut” (preserved fruit) respectively for this year's Tet, but export volumes have fallen to just 6-16 tonnes, a modest volume compared to sales in the domestic market.

Nguyen Lam Vien, general director of the Vinamit Co, said last year, the Tet market was already bustling in November, but this year, it is nearing the end of December and the company has received very few orders.

Nguyen Quoc Hung, deputy director of Hanh Phuc Food Processing Co. said most customers are small Vietnamese supermarkets and storeowners in overseas countries. So far they have ordered only a few dozen fish sauce cartons each.

Two large “mut” producers in HCM City , Tri Duc and Thanh Long Co have exported a total of 22 tonnes of Tet products so far. Of this, Tri Duc exported about 16 tonnes of different kinds of mut such as “mut dua” (coconut), “sen” (sugar coated lotus seeds), “bi” (dry preserved squash) to the US and Taiwan .

Thanh Long exported six tonnes of “mut me” (tamarind) and “mut mang cau” (soursop) to Australia .

Vinamit Co has basically completed its export orders of dried fruits to China , Cambodia and Laos . The Chinese market now accounts for 60 percent of the company's turnover.

Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, owner of Thanh Long Co, said many buyers were not making plans in advance, they made ordering and asked for delivery a few weeks later. This was not an ideal situation, she said./.