Vietnam plans to obtain a year-on-year rise of 30 percent in farm and vegetable export value to 1 billion USD this year.

Secretary General of the Fruits and Vegetables Association (Vinafruit) Nguyen Van Ky said the figure is within reach as the rising global demand for farm produce is benefiting Vietnam ’s sector this year.

Vietnam has been listed as one of the world’s five biggest farm produce exporters, Ky added.

Meanwhile, Thailand, Vietnam’s biggest rival in farm produce export, has become the nation’s major importer, said Vinafruit, adding that the nation is focusing on the cultivation of orchids, a high value staple.

With diverse varieties, Vietnam’s high-quality special fruits and vegetables have penetrated not only Thailand but also other markets, like the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2013, Vinafruit said its affiliates will increase their exports to China by closely cooperating with the latter’s importers and distributors and to top 10 importers of their farm produce, including Italy, Russia, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Germany and Canada, despite their strict requirements on food hygienic safety.

The country’s main export items are fresh fruit like dragon fruit, watermelon, litchi, longan and mango; fresh vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, carrots and spice herbs; and canned vegetables.

In order to ensure exports, the sector plans to raise an annual vegetable and fruit output from 200,000-300,000 tonnes from 2011-2015 to 400,000 tonnes per year in the next five years and an annual fruit output from 500,000 tonnes from 2011-2015 to 800,000 tonnes in the next five years.

To obtain the target, the sector will put ineffective rice production areas in the Red River , central highlands, southeastern region and the Mekong Delta into those for high-value fruits and vegetables.

In addition, it will apply up-to-date science and technology, set up conglomerates providing varieties and technical measures to create breakthroughs into production.-VNA