Vietnam has surpassed India which had a modest harvest this year, to become the world's largest pepper exporter.

In April, Vietnam exported 16,000 tonnes of pepper, valued at 80 million USD. In the first four months of the year, 42,000 tonnes of pepper worth 208 million USD were exported.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) the price of pepper has continued to soar since 2007 and experienced a massive surge last July.

During the latter half of 2010, the price of pepper increased by 45-60 percent when compared to prices from the first half of the year, the ministry said.

The ministry says that the price is likely to increase until the end of May.

Beginning in June, the price will likely hinge on export volume from big pepper suppliers in Indonesia and Brazil .

The Ministry of Industry and Trade expects the country to export 120,000 tonnes of pepper this year, worth 470 million USD.

Although the country will export a large amount of pepper for a good price this year, Vietnamese experts claim there is still room for improvement.

Despite of the fact that Vietnam has been one of the world's biggest pepper producers and exporters, the country often sells its pepper at prices that are lower than those from India , Brazil and Indonesia .

The Vietnam Pepper Association says that Vietnamese pepper is exported through many middlemen.

Moreover, the country exports raw pepper, while other countries export high-quality processed pepper.

To further develop the sector, experts say that the industry needs to focus on branding its product and improving the quality of its pepper./.