Exports continually increasing since 2008 but could do even better with the right strategy.
Fruit and vegetable exports in the first nine months of the year reached nearly $1.3 billion in value against an annual target of $2 billion. According to the Vietnam Fruit & Vegetables Association (Vinafruit), exports have seen strong growth in recent years after standing at just $460 million in 2010.
Dr. Nguyen Huu Dat, Director of the Center for Plant Quarantine After Import 2 at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Vietnam is now exporting 40 types of fruit to 40 countries and territories worldwide, totaling over 1.6 million tonnes. Dragonfruit leads the way, with over 997,000 tonnes, followed by watermelon with 300,000 tonnes, longan over 100,000 tonnes, and lychee over 70,000 tonnes.
Fruit exports have been increasing since 2008, when some fastidious markets were opened. By 2014 exports into these markets reached over 3,000 tonnes. Some fruit have been penetrating into high quality markets in recent times, such as mangoes in Japan and lychees in Australia. It is expected that mangoes and star apples will enter the US by the end of this year.
According to Dr. Nguyen Quoc Vong from RMIT University, exports would be higher if Vietnam did not pay so much attention to rice, as the market for the product is quite low. “If there was strategic investment to improve technology and quality, fruit and vegetables could bring in billions of dollars to Vietnam,” Dr. Vong was quoted as saying.