Northwest Cherry Growers’ president BJ Thurlby told the Capital Press that Vietnam has a larger middle-class than numbers show, and imports into the region increased 10-fold in the previous year.
“With no training or promotions, Northwest cherry exports to Vietnam increased from 1,000 to 10,000 20-pound (9.1kg) cartons from 2009 to 2010,” he said. “With training and promotions, and Vietnam's buying power, the number could be 100,000 cartons in five or six years,” he added.
China and Vietnam are viewed as great potential markets because of their large populations and expanding middle classes that have buying power and want quality US produce.
“Every market helps when the Northwest is producing cherry crops of up to 20.5m cartons,” said Mr Thurlby
Speaking to Asia Fruit Magazine earlier this year Mr Thurlby said Asia continues to be the shining star in Northwest Cherry Growers’ export programme.
“This year we will ship close to 1.9m 20Ib-equivalent cartons to Asia,” he said in August. “Shipments to China and Hong Kong have been strong relative to the reduced crop, with shipments to the mainland increasing significantly during the last part of July and into August.”
Mr Thurlby took part in a two-week trade mission that ended 23 September and included 100 delegates from Washington agricultural and non-agricultural industries.