The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) estimates the total volume of exported pepper this year to reach nearly 130,000 tonnes, which is worth more than 775 million USD.

This new prediction is down by 13,000 tonnes in volume and 100 million USD in value against its forecast in September.

“If the prediction is true, the export turnover in 2011 will have nearly doubled last year’s figure,” the ministry said.

General Secretary of the Vietnam Pepper Association, Tran Duc Tung, attributed the down-turn in forecast to the limited supply from domestic farmers.

“It is a pity that most domestic farmers have not stockpiled pepper. They sold out to the traders when the price climbed to about 100 million VND (4,760 USD) per tonne. At that time, demand in the world market strongly increased while the demand has since come down due to bad weather,” Tung said.

He added that most of the pepper currently belonged to traders who were speculating to get a higher profit. Due to that, the volume of exported pepper has sharply fallen.

According to the ministry, in November of this year, the pepper export volume was 6,000 tonnes, valued at 40 million USD. With this, the total pepper export volume and value in 11 months was 122,000 tonnes and 713 million USD respectively.

“Compared to the same period last year, the volume is up by 10.5 percent and the value has surged by 83 percent,” the ministry added.

The US is still the leading importer of Vietnamese pepper. /.