Exports of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables are set reach US$2bn in 2015 as the country continues to improve its access to new markets.
Earlier this year, New Zealand and Australia authorised imports of Vietnamese rambutan and lychee respectively, while Japan recently opened its doors to fresh mangoes from Vietnam. The US, meanwhile gave the green light for imports of Vietnamese longan and lychee in 2014.
According to figures from the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association reported in Vietnam News, earnings from fresh produce exports have risen sharply in the past five years, from US$460m in 2010 to US$1.47bn in 2014. Shipments for the first nine months of this year stood at almost US$1.3bn the association said.
Dragon fruit is Vietnam’s main fruit export, accounting for 997,000 tonnes of last year’s 1.6m tonne export total. This was followed by watermelon (300,000 tonnes), longan (100,000 tonnes), lychee (70,000 tonnes) and rambutan (600 tonnes).
In all, the country ships around 40 different fruits and vegetables to 40 countries worldwide, according to Dr Nguyen Huu Dat, director of the Post-Import Plant Quarantine Centre II, which forms part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Speaking at a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh last week, Dat said Vietnam now supplies some of the world’s most demanding markets, including the US, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Chile. Shipments to these markets increased by 150 per cent last year to 3,000 tonnes.
The first shipments of Vietnamese dragon fruit to the US took place in 2008, and since then volumes have grown steadily, reaching 1,500 tonnes in 2014. Rambutan exports to the US have also increased. Dat said exports of star fruit and mango to the US are both expected to get underway by the end of this year.
Huynh Quang Dau, general director of An Giang Fruit-Vegetables and Foodstuff Joint Stock Company, told the seminar that the company’s fruit and vegetable exports grown at a rate of 15-20 per cent this year compared to the same period last year, with exports to Japan, South Korea and the EU increasing significantly.
Dat said the development of a government-led export strategy would provide more postharvest support for farmers and optimise the country’s export potential.