|A farmer in Ea H'leo Commune, Dak Lak Province dries pepper. Shipments of the spice increased by almost a quarter during the first three months of the year. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam, the world's largest pepper exporter, saw shipments of the spice increase by almost a quarter in the first three months, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The country shipped 39,000 tonnes of pepper worth US$261 million for a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent in volume and 23.6 per cent in value.
The average export price was down by 2.7 per cent to $6,644 per tonne.
The US remained the biggest buyer followed by Germany, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates.
Speaking at a meeting in HCM City last week, Tran Duc Tung, office manager of the Viet Nam Pepper Association, said the International Pepper Community estimates global supply to fall this year because of unfavourable weather in pepper-producing countries.
It therefore expects prices to increase internationally during the rest of the year, he said.
"The industry will find it hard to meet the export target of 120,000 tonnes this year."
Pepper output in southern and Central Highlands provinces is expected to fall by 20 per cent this year.
"The output will be around 90,000 tonnes, a year-on-year decline of 20,000 tonnes due to unfavourable weather, epidemic, and old and stunted trees," Tung said.
He called on the Government to help farmers access cheap loans to improve their pepper plantations as well as hold on to their harvests stock to wait for higher price before selling.
To sustain growth the sector needs to focus more on developing brand names and invest more in technologies to diversify products and improve quality, he said.
Viet Nam exports pepper to 80 countries and territories.
It has more than 50,000ha under the spice, mainly in the six provinces of Gia Lai, Dac Lac, Dac Nong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. — VNS