|Traders purchase longan in Hong Nam Commune, Hung Yen City. Earnings from fruits and vegetable exports topped over $1.3 billion in the first nine months of this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Sinh
HCM CITY (VNS) — Fruit and vegetable exports are likely to achieve the Government's target of US$1.65 billion this year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
More and more countries have opened their door to Vietnamese fruits and vegetables, including selective markets like the US, Australia, the EU and Japan.
Earnings from fruit and vegetable exports have increased strongly in recent years, from $460 million in 2010 to $1.47 billion last year, according to the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association (Vinafruit).
The figure topped $1.342 billion in the first nine months of this year, a surge of more than 116 per cent over the same period last year.
Viet Nam exports 40 kinds of fruits and vegetables to 40 countries and territories, including major export markets like China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Malaysia and Thailand.
Last year, more than 1.6 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables were exported, of which dragonfruit accounted for more than 997,000 tonnes, watermelon nearly 300,000 tonnes, longan more than 100,000 tonnes, litchi over 70,000 tonnes and rambutan 600 tonnes.
Exports of fresh fruit to demanding markets like the US last year went up by 1.5 times over 2013, with more than 3,000 tonnes of fresh fruits exported.
China is the largest importer of fruits and vegetables from Viet Nam, reaching more than $435 million last year, accounting for 29 per cent of the total exports, according to Vinafruit.
China remained the largest importer in the first eight months of this year with $784.05 million worth of imports, a surge of 139 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year, accounting for 64.2 per cent of Viet Nam's total fruits and vegetables exports.
Major exports to China include mango, banana, dragonfruit and rambutan.
The second largest importer of fruits and vegetables from Viet Nam is Japan with $49.8 million in the period, accounting for 4.1 per cent of Viet Nam's total exports, a rise of 1.3 per cent over the same period last year.
The third position is South Korea with total imports of 47.59 million in the period, an increase of 22 per cent compared to the same period last year, accounting for 3.9 per cent of Viet Nam's total exports.
Exports of fruits and vegetables to Cambodia were only $4.78 million in the period, but it represented an increase of 215.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The increase in exports of fruits and vegetables is mainly due to a larger area of fruit and vegetable cultivation that meets VietGap standards, which helped increase the quality of materials.
In September, more than 20 hectares of big longan cultivated in the northern province of Hung Yen met VietGap standards and are now eligible for export to the US, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Viet Nam started to export dragonfruit to the US market in 2008, with only 100 tonnes that year.
The export volume has steadily increased, reaching 1,500 tonnes last year and 1,152 tonnes in the first seven months of this year.
Rambutan exports to the market have also increased strongly since late 2011.
Last year, the US market began to accept Vietnamese longan and litchi. Starfruit and mango are both also expected to be shipped to the US by the end of this year.
New Zealand and Australia this year also allowed the import of Vietnamese rambutan and litchi, respectively, and Japan has just opened its market for Vietnamese fresh mango.
At the same time, imports of fruits and vegetables to Viet Nam also rose in the first nine months of the year.
Nguyen Van Ky, general secretary of Vinafruit, said imports of fruits and vegetables were $460 million in the first nine months, or 114.3 per cent over the same period last year ($403 million).
Major exporters of fruits and vegetables of Viet Nam include Thailand, China and the US.
Dong Nai rambutan enters French market
The Binh Loc Co-operative in the southern Dong Nai Province's Binh Loc Commune has shipped two tonnes of dried rambutan to France, bnews.vn reported.
Phung Thanh Tam, chairman of the co-operative, said the fresh Java rambutan, cultivated to meet the VietGap standard, were sold to a French partner at VND5,500 (25 US cents) per kilogram, higher than the maximum domestic price of VND4,000. His co-operative was then responsible for drying the fresh rambutan, while the French partner took care of the delivery, Tam said.
After the first batch, the French side sent a delegation to the province to take samples of the soil and water for testing as part of its plan to support Binh Loc in expanding areas under rambutan cultivation by meeting the GlobalGap standard for the French market from 2016.
Currently, more than 1,200ha of land is under rambutan cultivation in Binh Loc, the largest in Dong Nai. Of the total, 12ha of rambutan are cultivated as per the VietGap standard, including 6ha of Java rambutan.
Once it receives assistance from the French partner, the co-operative will develop Java rambutan fields of high quality and productivity towards meeting the GlobalGap standard. — VNS