Vietnam’s vegetable, fruit exports likely to hit 4 billion USD this year

As one of the few sectors reporting export turnover increase in the first quarter of 2023, Vietnam’s vegetable and fruit sector has a bright outlook to earn 4 billion USD in export revenue this year.

Export turnover increasing

Vietnam exported nearly 1 billion USD worth of fruits and vegetables in Q1, up 8% from a year earlier, with the Chinese market recording an impressive growth of 23%.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, Secretary General of the Vietnam Fruit Association (Vinafruit), attributed the result to the signing of protocols on exports of durian, sweet potato and banana to China through official channels.

The export of pomelo to the US, and passion fruit to New Zealand was also a driver for the overall growth of the sector.

Durian was a big contributor to the impressive export results in the first months of this year. The export turnover of this fruit is expected to hit 1 billion USD, helping the sector’s total figure to 4 billion USD this year, up 20% year-on-year, said Nguyen.

The implementation of free trade agreements is also an important driving force helping fruit and vegetable exports to increase sharply in the first months and make an important contribution to boosting the sector’s exports throughout the year.

Good demand for fruit imports in China can help raise total fruit and vegetable exports in Q2 by 10% or higher, Nguyen noted, predicting that the revenue can reach about 2 billion USD in the first half of 2023.

Promoting exports through official channels

Vinafruit has proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and other ministries and agencies, especially the Vietnam Trade Office in China, study and negotiate for the signing of more protocols for several officially-exported products such as dragon fruit, mango, watermelon, jackfruit and rambutan, together with the opening of markets for other fruits such as green-skinned pomelo, fresh coconut, avocado, lemon, pineapple and star apple.

Besides China, it is also necessary to step up trade promotion activities in other markets such as the US, China, the Republic of Korea and Australia, stated Nguyen.

According to the Vinafruit Secretary General, the greatest difficulty at present is that there are not many planting area and packing facility codes to meet the requirements of the Chinese market. Currently, there are only 246 planting area and nearly 100 packing facility codes granted, much lower than the respective 20,000 and 2,000 of Thailand.

With an area of nearly 110,000 hectares, and an output of around 1 million tonnes per year, there will be a bottleneck in durian exports to China, if no more planting area code is granted this year.

He also suggested the MoIT and other ministries and sectors to call on investment and advanced technologies for processors to improve the export value, and gain a firmer foothold in such choosy markets as the US and the EU.

Vietnam Trade Offices abroad were advised to regularly organise Vietnamese fruit festivals to introduce the fruits to people in their host countries and international visitors.

Vietnam earned nearly 3.4 billion USD from vegetable and fruit exports last year.