|Farmer Le Phuoc Tuan dries his pepper in the commune of Ia PLang, Gia Lai Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Sy Huynh
HA NOI (VNS) — The pepper industry is hoping to attain an annual export value of US$1 billion within the next few years, buoyed by increasing global demand for the staple.
Based on market forecasts, the Viet Nam Pepper Association (VPA) expects pepper exports to reach 130,000 tonnes this year with a market value of $850 million, an increase of $55 million over last year's figures and $157 million more than 2011.
VPA chairman Do Ha Nam said pepper prices had continued to go up in recent years, encouraging farmers to expand their pepper growing to regions without arable conditions, including the northern and southern areas in Lam Dong Province.
Statistics from the association showed that Viet Nam cultivates around 2,000 additional hectares of new pepper plantations each year. The area