The pepper industry will, for the first time, make a full-year record gross of 1 billion USD from selling the spice this year, buoyed by a bumper harvest and high prices, according to the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA).

Pepper exports are hoped to reach around 150,000 tonnes in 2014.

In the first five months of this year, the sector shipped 92,000 tonnes worth 645 million USD, posting the highest ever increases of 33.6 percent and 42.3 percent, respectively, year-on-year.

The US, Singapore and India topped the list of buyers, making up 40 percent of country’s pepper exports, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In May, the spice set its highest price record so far, with black pepper worth 6,600 USD per tonne and white pepper 9,600 USD per tonne. The average price in January-May reached 6,879 USD per tonne, up 4.2 percent year-on-year, due to a considerable fall in global supply.

The world pepper harvest this year is estimated at 320,000 tonnes, down a remarkable 45,000 tonnes over the previous year. Meanwhile, consumption demand increased 4-5 percent per year, according to the International Pepper Committee (IPC).

There has been stable and increasing demand for pepper in Europe, the US and Middle East since the beginning of this year, creating advantages for Vietnamese pepper exporters to occupy the global market, the VPA said.

In 2013, Vietnam exported 134,000 tonnes of pepper for 899 million USD, up 15 percent and 13 percent in volume and value respectively against the previous year.

As the world’s largest pepper producer, Vietnamese spice is shipped to more than 90 countries and territories.

Vietnam has more than 50,000 ha of pepper plantations, mainly in the provinces of Binh Phuoc, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.-VNA