Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports grow past rice

By Ha Phuong   September 7, 2016 | 08:07 pm PT
Countries like the U.S. and Australia are developing a taste for Vietnamese fruit.

As of July this year, Vietnam's total fruit and vegetable exports had hit $1.4 billion, marking a jump of 32 percent on-year and leaving other key agricultural product exports far behind. By the end of this year, the export value of fruit and vegetables is expected to surpass last year's record of $2 billion and may reach $2.5 billion, an official from the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association forecast.

There are a number of reasons for this increase, but the most noteworthy is the acceptance of fruit such as lychees, mangos, dragon fruit and rambutan by the U.S. and Australia, Prof. Nguyen Minh Chau, former head of the Southern Horticultural Research Institute, told Nong Nghiep (Agriculture) Newspaper. But more importantly, Vietnamese fruit and vegetable producers have applied new technology including heat and radiation treatment to cultivate their crops, allowing them to meet the higher requirements of more demanding markets, Chau added. 

70 percent of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports touched down in China in July.

Source: Vietnam Customs

Each day, an estimated 100 trucks of dragon fruit, watermelons and bananas depart Vietnam for China via the province's border gate, said vice chairman of Lang Son's People's Committee.

Fruit and vegetable exports are expected to maintain their momentum in the next few years due to higher demand, according to a report released in May by Zion Research, a global agricultural market research company. The world’s fruit and vegetable market reached $203.3 billion in 2014 and is expected to hit $320 billion in 2020, said the report.

Speaking of sustainable export growth, Prof. Chau said producers should try to apply new cultivation models and set global food safety standards as their top priority. 

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