Vietnam’s pepper exports in the first seven months of this year rose over the same period last year but pepper supplies are forecast to fall in the remaining months, according to the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA).

Pepper exports achieved a year-on-year increase of 22.8 percent in volume to 94.000 tonnes and 17.7 percent in value to 618 million USD during the seven-month period, the association said.

Pepper was one of few farming products to see a surge in export value during the past months, partly thanks to prices of 135,000 VND (6.4 USD) per kilo, 18,000-20,000 VND (0.85-0.95 USD) higher than those earlier this year.

However, by the end of this year, supply of pepper is expected to fall and this year’s total pepper exports are forecast to be lower than last year, according to the association.

VPA chairman Do Ha Nam said the country’s pepper output is forecast to reach 95,000 tonnes this year, 15 percent lower than 2012, despite the total area under pepper cultivation expanding to 60,000 ha from 57,500 ha in 2012.

The decrease in output was blamed on a long rainy period in June 2012, which resulted in dewed pepper trees flowering.

The country’s average annual pepper output is 100,000 tonnes, accounting for 50 percent of pepper traded on the global market, he said.

Vietnam ’s pepper output reached 125.000 tonnes in 2011 and 11.500 tonnes in 2012.

Nam said export prices for Vietnamese pepper reached an average of 8,800 USD per tonne for while pepper and 6,090 USD per tonne for black pepper.

The export price of Vietnamese pepper was expected to surge as foreign traders take more notice of Vietnamese pepper.

Therefore, Vietnamese traders should be careful in signing export contracts so that they can benefit from expected price rises later this year.-VNA