Agricultural exports to newly opened China surge

Traders are busy buying the best quality durian, jackfruit, cassava, and cashew nut possible to export to China, whose demand seems to be insatiable.

This has been the busiest year ever for traders like Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh in the southern province of Tien Giang. She has been scrambling to find top quality fruits grown in the Mekong Delta to sell to Chinese buyers.

“In previous years we only bought limited quantities of durian, jackfruit and mango to sell domestically, but this year we have been raising prices continuously to get enough for exports.”

Thanh Mai, a trader in the Central Highlands, has been struggling to meet her increasing export quota. She now pays farmers double last year’s prices: VND20,000 for a kilogram of taro, and VND14,000 for yam.

Export companies are also busy.

Van Xuan Phat Exports and Imports ships thousands of tons of durian to China every month, while major exporter Vina T&T has secured a contract for 22,500 tons of the fruit.

In Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc Provinces, companies are preparing to export 500,000-600,000 tons of durian to China.

Vietnamese rice is also imported by China following it reopening after years of imposing a strict zero-Covid policy.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said in its latest report that rice exports to China and the Philippines have surged.

The Vietnam Food Association said the two countries, along with others in Africa and Europe, are increasing their purchase to expand reserves, and Vietnamese rice would continue to have an advantage with some competitors being affected by inflation and climate change.

In the first two months of 2023 China has bought $1.27 billion worth of agriculture, seafood and forestry goods from Vietnam, the highest by any country. It accounted for over a fifth of Vietnam’s agriculture exports.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, said the resumption of border trade between the two countries and new trading protocols have helped boost exports to China.

Chinese buyers have been actively seeking out Vietnamese products, he added.