Fruit, vegetable exports could sprout 10 percent this year

The vegetable and fruit sector has set an export target of 482 million USD for this year, an increase of 10 percent over last year's.
The vegetable and fruit sector has set an export target of 482 million USD for this year, an increase of 10 percent over last year's.

Speaking at a planning meeting for 2010, Nguyen Van Ky, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association (Vinafruit), said fruit and vegetable exports have achieved an annual growth of 20 percent since 2004, reaching 439 million USD last year.

Currently, Vietnamese fruits and vegetables are being sold in more than 50 nations and territories, with China , Japan , the US , Netherland and Russia being main importers.

Main export items include canned and dried fruits and fresh and dried vegetables as well as some fresh fruit including dragon fruit, pomelo, longan and durian.

However, many challenges lie ahead for the sector because of import barriers set by other countries and international competition, Ky said.

The high export growth rate in recent years was mostly due to higher prices rather than volume increases, Ky said.

In addition, poor market forecasting and brand name building have made Vietnamese fruit and vegetables vulnerable to price instability and they are exported under other foreign brands, the association said.

In the first half of last year, there were abundant supplies of fruit and vegetables while demand dropped, but in the later months of last year when prices went up, there was not enough produce for export, he explained.

Because of the small scale of fruit cultivation, exporters are unable to execute large orders, he added.

In order to improve and stabilise fruit and vegetable exports, Ky said domestic businesses need to plan long-term, build their brand names and applying Good Agricultural Practices standards in production to ensure safety and quality.

He also advised local firms to apply modern preservation and transportation technologies to reduce post-harvest risks.

Vinafruit has also petitioned the Government to offer incentives for enterprises investing in vegetable and fruit production, preserving and agricultural insurance.

It also asked the Government to continue supporting the sector through market research and trade promotion programmes.

Viet Nam has the advantage of different geographic and climatic conditions in each region allowing it to diversify its fruit and vegetable production giving the sector great potential to develop further.

The country currently has more than 1.4 million ha under fruit and vegetables, with average annual yield of over 6.5 million tonnes of fruit and 6.9 million tonnes of vegetables.

As much as 85 percent of fruits and vegetables are consumed in the domestic market./.

See more