Vietnam exported 302 million USD worth of vegetables and fruits in the first six months of the year, up 32.5 percent against the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

In June alone, exports reached 50 million USD.

The demand for Vietnamese vegetables and fruits in regional markets like China and Indonesia has increased sharply this year.

Even markets that have strict import standards like the US , the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Japan have been buying more kinds of fruits from Vietnam since the beginning of this year.

Local experts say this is because the quality of Vietnamese fruits has improved.

The US has allowed the import of rambutan while RoK has opened its doors to Vietnamese dragon fruit.

Recently, a group of experts from New Zealand visited Vietnam to inspect preparations for exporting fresh mango early next year onwards.

Taiwan is expected to resume imports of Vietnamese dragon fruit in the near future, according to the Plant Protection Department.

Vietnam has exported 750 tonnes of dragon fruit to the US so far this year, which is 90 percent of the annual figure for last year.

Japan imported 200 tonnes of dragon fruit from Vietnam in the first six months of the year, up 70 per cent against the same period last year.

Vietnamese exporters have also shipped 40 tonnes of dragon fruits to the RoK this year.

Dragon fruit exports to the US , Japan and the Republic of Korea are expected to reach a total of 2,600 tonnes this year, double that of last year.

Besides the increase in volume, fruit exports have also increased in value.

The export price of rambutan fruits to France is now 6.1 USD a kg, up 0.1 USD per kg against the same period last year.

The export price of dried coconut has also increased by 100 USD-180 USD a tonne to 2,500-2,800 USD a tonne.

Exports of fruits and vegetables are estimated to increase strongly in the third quarter of this year as it is the harvest time of many fruits and vegetables, according to exporters.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade estimates that export of vegetables and fruits could reach 500-550 million USD this year.

During the first six months of 2011, Vietnam also imported 122 million USD of vegetables and fruits, a decline of 5.8 percent against the same period last year./.