More fruit and vegetable export opportunities for Vietnamese produce next year

December 14, 2021 - 08:06
Việt Nam will have many more opportunities to export fruit and vegetables to potential markets in 2022, providing local producers meet international standards on quality and management of growing regions, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).


Harvesting longan at a farm in Sơn La Province. Việt Nam expects to export fresh longan to Japan next year. VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyết

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will have many more opportunities to export fruit and vegetables to potential markets in 2022, providing local producers meet international standards on quality and management of growing regions, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

It is expected that China will next year issue permits allowing the import of passion fruit from Việt Nam, said Lê Văn Thiết, deputy director of MARD’s Plant Protection Department. If it weren't for the COVID-19 pandemic, China would have inspected the sweet potato and durian growing areas too.

Due to the pandemic, it is thought that it will not be until next year that Chinese authorities will inspect Vietnamese passion fruit, sweet potato and durian.

Việt Nam currently exports ten different kinds of fruit, under official quotas, to China.

Authorities have also asked Japan to provide export licenses for Vietnamese fresh longan from 2022.

According to the Việt Nam Trade Office in Japan, the country mainly imports dried or frozen longan products for processing tea and beverage products.

If Việt Nam is issued with an import license for Japan, the longan could enjoy as much success as other fruits such as lychee. However, exporting Vietnamese fruits to fastidious markets like Japan requires a lot of time and effort from both countries.

Japan has licensed Việt Nam’s lychees for export since December 2019.

Nguyễn Minh Vũ, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that Việt Nam still has many opportunities to increase the export of agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables, especially to the EU market.

Việt Nam is the only country in the Asia Pacific region that has a free trade agreement with the EU. After the European-Việt Nam free trade agreement (EVFTA) came into effect, the tax rate for many kinds of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables was reduced from 10-20 per cent to zero.

The EU is the largest fruit and vegetable import market in the world, worth around 135 billion euros per year. This accounts for 45 per cent of the global trade value of fruit and vegetables.

EU countries are recovering strongly after their social distancing period, and demand for food products is increasing rapidly, including Việt Nam's tropical fruits and vegetables, according to Vũ.

However, fruit and vegetables from Việt Nam only account for 1 per cent of this market’s total imports. 

Trần Văn Công, Agricultural Counselor in the EU, said that Việt Nam has exported many kinds of fruits to the EU, including dragon fruit, passion fruit, coconut, durian, longan, lychee, mangosteen, and seedless lemon. Việt Nam's fruit and vegetable export turnover to this market in the first eight months of 2021 reached 88.5 million euros, including fresh products which increased by 7.7 per cent.

Việt Nam has improved the quality and competitiveness of its fruit and vegetable products to boost the export of those products to the EU market.

However, the volume of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits meeting the quality standards and certification of the region is still small. Post-harvest preservation and processing have not met the requirements, while packaging and design are not suitable with EU consumer trends.

Other challenges for local businesses include high logistics costs and a lack of efficient cooperation among them.

To promote the export of vegetables and fruits to the EU market, Công said the Government, localities, ministries and sectors need to provide solutions that encourage investment in technology and reduce post-harvest losses.

It is necessary to develop supporting industries that have specific mechanisms for logistics and transportation, to reduce production costs and increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables. 

In addition, Việt Nam needs to develop national trade promotion programmes, he said.

According to the ministry, the demand for fruits in the global market is increasing. This is a great opportunity for Việt Nam to expand its international presence. 

However, there are still many obstacles to expand the export fruit market.

Lê Quốc Điền, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Đồng Tháp Province, said there is a lack of cooperation among localities in the Mekong Delta to enhance exports of 22 kinds of regional speciality fruit.

In addition, farmers still implement small-scale production with no uniform technical production, so it is difficult to improve the competitiveness of fruit products.

Điền said if agriculture wants to export large quantities, those products need to be produced under unified technique and process.

He also stressed the importance of promoting market forecasts for each fruit product and improving the value chain. It is especially necessary to connect cooperatives with businesses.

Lê Thanh Tùng, deputy director of MARD's Department of Crop Production, said that producing according to the standards of importers, traceability and quality certification are the prerequisites of expanding Vietnamese fruit exports.

According to the ministry, the export value of fruit and vegetables produced in Việt Nam in the first ten months of 2021 was estimated at about US$3 billion, up 10.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2020. VNS