High potential for fruit, vegetable exports to China hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – China is current the biggest market for Vietnamese agricultural products, but its demand for fruits and vegetables is still growing, offering a chance for Vietnamese firms to boost even stronger shipments to this country.

The information was revealed at a Vietnam-China forum on fruit and vegetable exports held in Ho Chi Minh City on March 14.

Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Agro Processing and Market Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that fruit and vegetable exports to China reached 2.8 billion USD in 2018, accounting for 70 percent of Vietnam’s total earnings from the market.

He said China is a giant market with a population of over 1.4 billion and an annual agro-forestry-fishery import turnover of 160 billion USD. Aside from rice, rubber, and cassava, its demand for fruits and vegetables is also on the rise.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable export capacity could reach up to 10 billion USD, but the current figure is just 4 billion USD, Hoa noted.

Highlighting the export advantages, he said Vietnam is located next to China, which has cut down 95 percent of import tariffs on Vietnamese farm produce under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement. China has also created green lanes at its border gates, allowing Vietnamese goods to pass ports of entry before they are examined.

Zhang Zu Man, head of China’s XinFaDi agricultural products company, said Chinese consumers’ demand for fruits and vegetables is increasing in terms of both quantity and quality.They are ready to pay more for high-quality food products, he said.

Meanwhile, Vietnam boasts a diversity of tasty tropical fruits. The two countries’ fruit and vegetable structures are complementary to each other, so Vietnamese products do not have to directly compete with Chinese ones, he noted.

Zhang added that dragon fruit, bananas, lychees, mangoes, and jackfruits from Vietnam are very popular at big markets in China. Additionally, China also has great demand for imported materials to serve agricultural product processing factories, he added.

Xu Zhu, General Director of the Yolego Beijing company, pointed out the problem that sellers and buyers of agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables, haven’t been directly connected with each other. Their transactions are still mainly conducted via intermediaries, costing them more time and expenses, while the quality of farm produce is not ensured, he said.

To foster Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to China, businesses of both sides should increase the sharing of market information and set up long-term partnerships. Once they are able to work directly with each other, they could successfully build production and consumption chains, in which Vietnamese firms organise their production based on Chinese demand and standards and have the consumption of their products secured, he suggested.

Specialists at the forum also recommended that Vietnamese farmers and exporters improve their product quality and actively meet China’s quality and origin traceability requirements to step up exports via official channels.–VNA