Despite concerns about the slump in demand for Vietnamese farm produce in traditional markets like China, the country's exports in the first seven months were worth 17.5 billion USD, an increase of 11.8 percent year on year.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, major increases were reported in the exports of coffee, pepper, seafood, and wooden products.

But other items like rice, rubber, tea, and cassava and its products have seen a slump due to a decline in exports to China.

Many items have been sold to the EU, the US, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

Green-skinned pomelo and dragon fruit, for instance, have been shipped to 40 countries and territories around the world.

Last year Vietnam exported around 326,000 tonnes of dragon fruit for over 200 million USD. In the first quarter of this year prices of dragon fruit exported to Canada rose by nearly 16 percent from last year to 2,300 USD per tonne.

Nguyen Xuan Hong, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's board for promoting exports of vegetables, flowers and fruits, said to maintain growth in exports of farm produce, local firms must look for new markets while strengthening relations with traditional markets through improving quality by further investing in post-harvest technologies.

"Local businesses should invest in advanced technologies for processing farm produce.

"For example, they can build plants to produce ethanol from cassava and make wood products from shavings instead of importing them."

New technologies have helped increase the value of produce.

Binh Dinh Fishery Joint Stock Company (Bidifishco) exported its first batch of ocean tuna to Japan on August 6. The company's director, Cao Thi Kim Loan, said using advanced Japanese fishing technologies helped fishing vessels catch ocean tuna that meet Japanese market standards.

By applying CAS technology (which helps preserve fruits for a year while retaining quality), Luc Ngan district in the northern province of Bac Giang has exported over 20 tonnes of lychee to Japan this year.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, exports of farm produce, seafood, and forest produce accounts for nearly 20 percent of the country's total exports on average.-VNA