Vietnam seeks to boost fruit-vegie-flower exports to Asia, Europe hinh anh 1Sweet corn production line of Vifoco Company (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Asia and Europe are important markets for Vietnamese fruits and vegetable exports and imports, and flowers could be next, experts said at a seminar on “Fruit, vegetable and flower exports - New movements in Asian and European markets” in Hanoi on October 24.

Statistics released at the seminar showed that Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports grew from 829 million USD in 2012 to 1.47 billion USD in 2014, and to 2.4 billion USD in 2016 before reaching a record of 3.86 billion USD last year, surpassing many other agricultural products.

By negotiating and signing 16 free trade agreements, including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) in June, many opportunities are opening for the export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, including fruits and vegetables, said Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy General Director  of the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

This will be a good opportunity for the expansion of Vietnam's fruit and vegetable export markets in the global production, processing and supply chain, he said.

To seize this opportunity, the whole industry needs to change its perception, actively seek directions to be able to integrate and better meet market regulations, improving the status of Vietnamese agricultural products, Hoa said.

To achieve this, companies must equip themselves with market knowledge, updated technology, improve product quality and network with global supply chains, he added.

Le Thi Mai Anh, a representative from the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said fruit and vegetable exports of Vietnam to Asian markets made up 85 percent of total export turnover, including top Asian markets such as China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

On the advantages of exporting to Asian markets, Anh emphasised the geographical location which shortened time for transport. She also said Asian markets had a large population scale with high market demand and similar consumption habits.

Regarding difficulties, she mentioned strict regulations on hygiene and food safety standards, and complicated risk assessment processes.

Other difficulties included weak competitive capacity and quality of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables; and limited knowledge on foreign markets.

Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable sector achieved a trade surplus of 1.4 billion USD in the first nine months of this year with export revenue of 2.8 billion USD, reported the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association.

The export revenue in the nine months dropped 5 percent compared to the same period last year, while the import revenue rose 7 percent./.