Vietnam surpasses Philippines as China’s top banana supplier

By Thi Ha   June 13, 2024 | 06:08 pm PT
Vietnam exported 355,000 tons of bananas to China in the first four months of this year, the highest by any country to that market.

This was 2.4 times the volume shipped by the second biggest exporter, the Philippines, and accounted for 48.6% of China’s banana imports.

This is the first time that Vietnam has managed to overtake the Philippines, also the second largest banana exporter globally.

But while Vietnam’s exports to China surged 22% year-on-year in volume terms, the value only increased by 3% to US$145 million as prices fell by 16% to $407.7 per ton.

Bananas being processed to be exported to China. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Ha

Bananas being processed to be exported to China. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Ha

An executive at a banana export company in Dong Nai Province told VnExpress that the price decline was due to competition since China has diversified its suppliers and imports large volumes from other countries besides Vietnam and the Philippines.

Vietnam is outselling the Philippines because the latter’s banana output and quality have fallen due to climate change, he added.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said the cost of shipping from the Philippines to China has skyrocketed this year, making its bananas 33% more expensive than Vietnam’s.

Other major Southeast Asian suppliers like Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are also grappling with rising costs, he said.

Ecuador, the top exporter of the fruit globally, is trying to increase exports to China, but it too is struggling with high transport costs, he added.

Since signing a protocol to increase banana exports to China in 2022, Vietnam has been shipping more of the fruit.

It has also been exporting more bananas to Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Qatar.

This year its exports have totaled nearly $2.6 billion, up 28% from a year ago, making it the third largest export item among fruits and vegetables behind durian and dragon fruit.

go to top