|Farmers in the central province of Binh Thuan pack dragon fruit for export. Viet Nam's fruit and vegetable industry aims to earn US$1 billion from exports this year, an increase of 30 per cent over last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam's fruit and vegetable industry aims to earn US$1 billion from exports this year, an increase of 30 per cent over last year, said general secretary of Viet Nam Vegetables and Fruit Association (Vinafruit) Nguyen Van Ky.
To reach this target, Vinafruit will increase its growing areas and shift from inefficient rice production in the Cuu Long Delta, Song Hong (Red River) Delta and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) to planting more high-value crops. In addition, Vinafruit plans to establish wholesale and marketing networks as well as a farm produce trading floor, said Ky.
The general secretary predicted that reaching this target would not be difficult, as Thailand –the country's biggest competitor in 2012 – has now become one of the top 10 importers of Viet Nam's vegetables. He attributed the change to Thai farmers' shift to planting orchids, which bring them higher profits than produce.
This year, Vinafruit member companies plan to increase exports to specific markets.
Vinafruit will focus on China, a major importer. But exporters plan to sell Vietnamese fruit and vegetables at supermarkets there rather than only selling directly to importers.
The two biggest importers of Vietnamese produce - the US and Japan - mainly import dragon fruit, followed by mushrooms, maize, sweet potatoes, onions and ginger.
Last year, Japan was the largest importer of vegetables from Viet Nam. Imports are predicted to increase this year thanks to the growing number of vegetarians in Japan, Ky said.
Last year, exports were slower than previous years, but the Vietnamese fruit and vegetable industry still achieved high export turnover of US$770 million. In recent years, Viet Nam has been ranked among the top five fruit and vegetable exporters in the world. — VNS