Exports fruit and vegetable expects to exceed US$ 7 billion

VCN - In the first half of 2024, fruit and vegetable export turnover reached nearly US$3.5 billion. Key markets recorded an increase of 10-50% over the same period in 2023. This is also the industry that holds the leading position in exports of agricultural products.
Dragon fruit - one of Vietnam's fruit and vegetable products exported to China. Photo: ST
Dragon fruit - one of Vietnam's fruit and vegetable products exported to China. Photo: ST

Many rooms for hitting more records

According to Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, fruit and vegetable export in June 2024 is estimate nearly US$ 780 million, Accumulated in the six months of 2024, fruit and vegetable export grew over 28% compared to the same period last year. In particular, durian, dragon fruit, banana… are the fruit items contributing mainly to the export growth in the first half of 2024. Besides that, processed products and key markets also recorded an increase of 10-50% over the same period last year.

The main markets for Vietnamese fruits and vegetables are still China and other potential markets such as South Korea, the United States, Japan, Thailand, etc. Among these, China remains the largest export market for Vietnamese fruits and vegetables, estimated at around 2.2 billion USD (up 33% compared to the same period in 2023). The second largest market is South Korea, estimated at 180 million USD, an increase of 57.9% compared to the same period in 2023. The United States follows, with export value reaching nearly 150 million USD, up 32.4% compared to the same period in the previous year. This is also a potential market for fruit and vegetable exporting countries, including Vietnam. However, in order to bring products into the United States, it is necessary to increase the added value of seasonal fruits in the direction of adding processed products such as dried fruits, fruit powder, canned products to be able to consume all year round, and apply new technologies to help prolong the shelf life of fruits.

Assessing the export market for Vietnamese fruits and vegetables, Mr. Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Vietnam has now officially exported more than a dozen types of fruits to the Chinese market, including watermelon, mangosteen, durian, fresh bananas, sweet potatoes, dragon fruit, rambutan, mango, lychee, longan, and jackfruit. Notably, Vietnam and China recently signed off on the negotiation of the Plant Quarantine Protocol for fresh coconut exports, opening up prospects for Vietnamese coconut exports. It is expected that this year, Vietnam and China will sign a new Protocol on the export of frozen durian, passion fruit and chili peppers, further expanding the export route for agricultural products to China.

Agreeing with the above assessment, the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association also forecasts that the export value of fruits and vegetables this year could reach 7-7.5 billion USD, if there are additional items of frozen durian or fresh coconut participating in the current negotiation agreements between Vietnam and China. Along with the abundant supply that can meet the large market demand, export enterprises expect to set a new record this year.

Promulgating standards on processing and preserve after harvesting

According to Dang Phuc Nguyen, General Secretary of Vietnam Vegetable and Fruit Association (VINAFRUIT), durian exports are growing rapidly. In May, exports of this fruit reached US$450 million, increasing 107% from the previous month and 34% from the same period last year. In June 2024, durian exports are estimated to have reached US$600 million. Thus, in just two months, durian exports have brought in $1.05 billion. In the first six months of the year, durian exports reached US$1.5 billion. As a result, durian continues to lead the way in terms of export value among Vietnam's key fruit exports, nearly four times that of dragon fruit, which used to be the top fruit in this category.

Despite being a key export fruit, some shipments of Vietnamese durian have recently been warned against due to contamination with banned substances. Specifically, China has issued warnings for over 30 shipments of durian contaminated with cadmium. The Plant Protection Department (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) has set up a task force to inspect and take samples (including soil, water, and fertilizers) from factories and growing areas on the warning list. The Department is currently setting up a second inspection task force and is in talks with businesses, packing facilities, and growing areas, with results expected in July. At that time, the Department will publish the information and work with China to find a solution to this problem.

In response to this situation, the management agency has advised businesses to strengthen checks for banned substances in orchards and packing facilities to ensure the quality and brand reputation of Vietnamese durian.

"The Chinese market is wide open, but the quality of fruits and vegetables is still unstable. There are still some shipments that are being warned about for pesticide residues. Recently, the project to improve the implementation of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) has been approved by the government, opening up a new tool to promote the quality of exported fruits and vegetables," emphasized Mr. Phung Duc Tien.

Speaking at the conference on the development of the durian industry in 2024, Ms. Ngo Tuong Vy, Vice President of the Dak Lak Durian Association and General Director of Chanh Thu Fruit Export Import Joint Stock Group, said that durian is expected to continue to be a well-performing fruit in the coming years. Besides the Chinese market, exporters are expanding to other potential markets around the world, such as India and other Asian countries. However, for the durian industry to develop and exports to be smooth, Vietnam needs to issue standards for processing and post-harvest storage to provide a basis for the export business community to follow. Currently, businesses apply the processing standards of durian importing countries to preserve, pre-process, process and export to the market that the business is targeting. Therefore, Vietnam needs to harmonize this process so that business operations can be smooth. Regarding the granting of growing area codes and processing facility codes, Vietnam needs to promote and negotiate with China so that the export and import, consumption of durian and other Vietnamese fruits can be smooth.

By Xuân Thảo/Thanh Thuy

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