Vietnamese experts are sanguine about the prospects for this year’s fruit and vegetable exports, expecting to rake in 1.2 billion USD.

Vietnam's Fruit and Vegetables Association (Vinafruit) was quoted as saying fruit and vegetable exports jumped more than 22% against a year earlier to 136 million USD in the first two months of this year, according to radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV).

Vinafruit Secretary General Nguyen Van Ky said five major importers of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables were China, Japan, the US, Thailand and Malaysia.

He said Vietnam and Taiwan (China) finalised an agreement in late 2013 under which the latter will consume a large amount of Vietnamese dragon fruit. Vietnam is also due to ship fruit to New Zealand and mangos to the Republic of Korea in the first quarter of this year.

Longan and lichees are being processed for shipment into the US market and the two nations are currently negotiating on mango and star apple exports.

Vinafruit also said last year Vietnam exported 1,300 tonnes of dragon fruit and 300 tonnes of rambutan to the US, along with 300 tonnes of dragon fruit to Japan and a similar amount of the fruit to the Republic of Korea.

Except for dragon fruit, exports of other kinds of fruit, such as pomelos, mangos, and rambutan to the US remain modest. Vegetable exports to Europe have resumed but in a small volume.

Last year, fruit and vegetable exports hit 1.04 billion USD, nearly 200 million USD more than the figure in 2012.

China was Vietnam’s biggest importer, accounting for 27.6 percent of the local market share. It was followed by Japan with 5.59 percent and the US with 4.7 percent.

Vietnam’s fruit and vegetables are now present in 40 markets around the world. Best sellers include dragon fruit, grapefruit and frozen and canned vegetable.-VNA