|Workers can cucumbers for export at Vifoco Import Export Joint Stock Company in the northern province of Bac Giang. Fruit and vegetable exports reached nearly US$1.5 billion last year. VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HCM CITY (VNS) — Fruit and vegetable exports increased strongly last year, reaching nearly US$1.5 billion, up nearly $500 million from the preceding year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The exports were sold to more than 50 nations and territories, with China, Japan, the US, and South Korea the main buyers.
China continued to be the biggest market, accounting for 26.4 per cent of the exports in the first 11 months of last year.
In addition to exporting fresh fruits and vegetables, in recent years more and more firms have invested in modern processing technology to raise export value, said Nguyen Van Ky, general secretary of the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetables Association.
Local exporters have started to use advanced preservation methods like irradiation to satisfy demanding markets like Japan and the US, the association said.
With importing countries tending to increase their quality, hygiene and food safety requirements, the sector has had no choice but to apply Good Agricultural Practices, it said.
Viet Nam's varied geographic and climatic conditions allow for a diverse range of fruits and vegetables to be grown.
Global fruit demand is expected to continue rising in the coming years, giving the country an opportunity to boost exports, the association said.
The country also imported fruits and vegetables worth $521 million last year, a year-on-year increase of 28.5 per cent, the ministry said.
Thailand, China, Myanmar and the US were the main suppliers.
The fruit and vegetable sector enjoyed its highest-ever trade surplus, with $956 million, in 2014. — VNS