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Fruit and vegetable exports see many positive signs in 2021

10:37 | 16/03/2021

VCN - Since the beginning of the year, fruit and vegetable exports have recorded remarkable growth, creating a breakthrough for the goal of exporting vegetables and fruits worth about US$4 billion in the whole year.

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Pineapple processing for export. Photo: ST

Export value increases by 14.6%

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by the end of February 2021, the export value of vegetables and fruits hit about US$610 million, up 14.6% compared to the same period last year.

In the first two months of this year, the Import-Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) cited data from the General Department of Customs, which stated clearly that fruit and vegetable exports in January 2021 hit $309.62 million, up by 12.8% compared to December 2020 and up 10% compared to January 2020. Notably, Vietnam's fruit and vegetable export in the first month of this year grew again after falling since September 2020.

The export value of vegetables and fruits in 2020 reached $3.26 billion, down 13% compared to 2019. China ranked first in Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable import market in 2020 with 56.3% market share; followed by the US with $168.8 million (accounting for 5.2%); Thailand reached $157.2 million (accounting for 4.8%); South Korea reached $143 million (accounting for 4.4%); Japan reached $127.7 million (accounting for 3.9%).

In 2020, while Cambodia was the market with the highest increase in fruit and vegetable export value (up 142%) and Laos was the market with the strongest decrease in export value (down 45.5%).

Before the Lunar New Year, China often boosts imports of vegetables and fruits to serve its high demand for consumption domestically. Therefore, the value of Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports to the Chinese market in January 2021 reached $182.92 million, up 24.4% compared to December 2020 and 5.4% compared to January 2020. Remarkably, at the beginning of this year, Vietnam's fruit and vegetable export market structure had a clear movement, gradually reducing its dependence on the Chinese market. The proportion of exports to this market fell to 59.1%, from 61.7% in January 2020. Meanwhile, the proportion of exports to other markets such as Thailand, the US, Japan and Taiwan increased.

In February 2021, the long Lunar New Year holiday interrupted exports of goods, including vegetables and fruits. The Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam also harmed the exports of this commodity.

Some experts said since the beginning of the year, fruit and vegetable exports have increased again mainly due to the positive impact from the free trade agreements (FTAs). Additionally, the start of vaccination campaigns in some countries has contributed to increasing demand for fruits and vegetables in Vietnam’s main markets.

As an exporting enterprise, Nguyen Dinh Tung, Chairman cum General Director of Vina T&T Group, said the company's 2021 target was to increase by 15-10% compared to 2020.

“We will export to the markets that Vietnam signed FTAs with, such as the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA), the UK-Vietnam (UKVFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). We will boost exports to increase our output and revenue,” said Tung.

Can export growth for the whole year reach 15%?

Dang Phuc Nguyen, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said due to the less serious nature of the pandemic, fruit and vegetable export turnover might increase by 10-15%. The reduction or end of the pandemic inevitably leads to the development of trade between countries.

The export target of the fruit and vegetable industry in 2021 is $4 billion. This is the number that would have been achieved in 2020 if Covid-19 had not happened.

"In case of difficult situation, this year's export may reach about $3.7 billion, equal to the number that was reached in 2019," said Nguyen.

Although development opportunities for the fruit and vegetable industry in the global market are huge this year, many experts believe that because of the pandemic, consumers will pay more attention to their health, so technical barriers may be strengthened, including in the Chinese market. Therefore, to promote fruit and vegetable exports, firms must have a proper investment such as building Global GAP planting areas, and factories with the ISO standard and social and environmental certification. These are prerequisites for negotiating with partners. Once customers have been approached, businesses need to maintain these conditions and avoid the situation of cancelled export shipments due to failure to meet conditions and requirements.

According to the Import-Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade), to promote the export of fruits and vegetables this year, exporting enterprises should increase investment in processed and preserved fruits and vegetables to meet export requirements amid the pandemic and complicated disasters forecasted in 2021.

“For the Chinese market only, their living standards have improved; Chinese consumers increasingly appreciate the quality and safety of agricultural products and foodstuffs. As the largest market for Vietnamese fruits and vegetables, to enhance exports to the Chinese market, businesses need to improve the quality of fruit and vegetable products and meet its standards,” said the representative of the Import and Export Department.

By Uyen Nhu/ Ha Thanh