The Hanoi Times - Vietnam's fruits and vegetables export industry earned 431 million USD in 2009, an increase of 6.1 per cent over 2008, surpassing the annual target, according to the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association.
The two final months of 2009 saw a rising number of orders which led to the industry growth.
At present, the number of orders is also on the increase. The large orders are concentrated on processed fruit and vegetable products such as jam, canned pineapple, lychees and preserved vegetables.
The demand for preserved vegetables and potatoes from Japanese importers has surged to about 10,000 tonnes per month.
Meanwhile, since November, Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to Cambodia have also increased compared to early 2009 with an average volume of 200 tonnes a day.
Traders in the province of An Giang are exporting 70-80 tonnes, an increase of 5-7 tonnes over previous months.
Singapore has also increased its demand from Viet Nam and China due to the fact Malaysia, Singapore's main provider, has struggled with decreasing output volume caused by bad weather.
In November, Viet Nam had a turnover of 35 million USD from fruit and vegetable exports and in December the figure was 40 million USD. Total export turnover reached 431 million USD, up 6.1 per cent on 2008, and surpassed the 400 billion USD target.
China is the industry's key importer. Its estimated imports from Viet Nam reached 50 million USD in 2009 with the main products being dragon fruit, coconut, potatoes, cauliflower and cardamom. "This is a good signal for the Vietnamese fruit and vegetable industry, posting healthy growth despite the world recession," said Dinh Van Huong, chairman of the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association.
However, at present, exporters are only meeting about 40-50 per cent of import demand from other countries, said the association. According to An Phu District's Agriculture and Rural Development Office in the province of An Giang, currently, the district's fruit and vegetable output only met 10 per cent of import demand from Cambodia.
Enterprises blamed the prolonged drought in the country's northern provinces and floods in central provinces on the decrease in fruit and vegetable output.
Last year, Vietnamese fruit and vegetables were exported to 20 countries, including China, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Germany, Australia and France. Previously, the country had 37 international markets.
Meanwhile according to experts, the lack of trademark authenticity and poor distribution facilities are obstacles that limit exports.
Transport affects quality
In addition, the prolonged transport duration decreases the quality of the goods.
"Prolonged transport duration has affected the goods circulation, so, our first interests are now short transport duration and low transport costs," said a businessman.
A report from the ministry shows that Viet Nam now has more than 680ha devoted to growing fruit and vegetables, providing a total yield of more than 7 million tonnes.
According to the experts' forecast, fruit and vegetable exports are expected to reach 760 million USD in 2010 and 1.2 billion USD in 2020.
Key exports include fresh or preserved potatoes, cucumbers, beans, onions, garlic, bananas, mango, lychees, longan, dragon fruit and coconuts.