|Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are exported to over 40 countries and territories. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS) — The country's fruit and vegetable exports reached US$629 million in the first five months of this year, soaring 17.8 per cent in turnover compared to the same period last year.
The country exported nearly 900,000 tonnes of fruit in the past five months, with dragon fruit taking the lead with 350,000 tonnes, followed by watermelons (250,000 tonnes), longans (110,000 tonnes) and bananas (30,000 tonnes).
Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are exported to over 40 countries and territories.
The ten leading markets are mainland China, Japan, the US, Russia, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Netherlands, Thailand and Singapore.
The country's exports have enjoyed strong growth in the past five years, with an average rate of 26.5 per cent a year, from $439 million in 2009 to $1.49 billion in 2014.
However, fruit exports to high-value markets such as Japan, the EU, the US and Australia remain low.
Exports to China, the country's key market, are mainly through unofficial channels. Chinese partners often have provincial border-gate trade policies along with unstable trading, which leads to unusual risks to Viet Nam's exports.
Dinh Van Huong, chairman of the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetables Association, told Thoi bao kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) that Vietnamese fruit and vegetables met quality standards, but lacked a recognised brand.
It would be difficult for fruit that do not have registered trademarks, brand names and geographic indications to access markets and shopping centres in foreign countries, he explained.
Products are consumed mainly by overseas Vietnamese or bought by foreign partners who import and pack them using advanced technology, Huong said.
There are over 100 fruit and vegetable processing companies operating on an industrial scale nationwide, and their production capacity is up to 300,000 tonnes per year.
However, a small number of them have licences to export to foreign countries. Enterprises mainly buy fruit from farmers and sell to foreign dealers, and have no strategy to access foreign markets.
Nguyen Xuan Hong, head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)'s Plant Protection Department, said the country lacked experience in opening export markets.
To boost fruit and vegetable exports, Viet Nam needed to make big changes from production to commerce, Hong suggested. In production, the country needed to expand plantations that applied the Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) standards to satisfy choosy markets. Trade promotions and marketing should also be adapted, he added. — VNS