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Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports experience exponential surge in Jan
Ngoc Mai 23:05, 2024/01/23
China's opening of its market to Vietnamese watermelon, frozen and processed fruits is expected to boost Vietnam’s total export turnover of farm produce to US$6.5 billion this year.

Vietnam's vegetable and fruit exports reached US$459 million in the first month of the year, marking an 89.2% increase compared to the same period in 2023, according to preliminary data released by the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association (VinaFruit).

 Quality control for durians before exporting to China. Photo: The Hanoi Times

“This is the highest growth rate for the first month of the year in the past couple of years,” stated VinaFruit in a report.

The surge in fruit and vegetable exports in the first month of the year is attributed to increased demand from China for products such as durians, bananas, and dragon fruits. Prolonged cold spells have limited China's domestic banana supply, resulting in blackened and unsellable fruit on the trees. The shortage of bananas in the Chinese market has facilitated Vietnam's banana exports.

The supply of dragon fruit in China is also dwindling. Traditionally, Chinese consumers prefer to use dragon fruit as an offering in Tet celebrations, leading to increased demand. The consumption season for Vietnamese dragon fruit in the Chinese market typically runs from the beginning of the year until the end of May each year.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, VinaFruit’s Secretary-General, anticipated that this year, alongside favorable durian export activities, China's opening of its market for Vietnamese watermelon, frozen and processed fruits, including mangoes, bananas, and limes, will boost the total export turnover to $6.5 billion this year, a sharp increase from the $5.6-billion figure recorded last year. 

“The quality of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables is consistently improving, meeting the criteria for entry into various markets,” he noted.

During the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Vietnam, the Chinese leader expressed his intention to open the market to several potential Vietnamese agricultural products, including fresh coconuts, frozen and processed fruits, multi-seeded fruits, avocados, and jackfruit. During the same visit, both sides signed a memorandum of understanding on watermelon exports.

Apart from China, the US and the European Union are also set to open their doors to various Vietnamese fruits. Authorities are currently negotiating market access for pomelos to the US and Australia mangoes to Japan, South Korea, Australia, and India, and durians to India.

The export turnover of fruits and vegetables in 2023 marked a record milestone, reaching nearly $5.6 billion, reflecting a substantial increase of 65.6% compared to 2022. Vietnam's top 10 fruit and vegetable export markets include China, the US, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Netherlands, Taiwan (China), Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia. Notably, China remains the largest importer of fruits and vegetables from Vietnam.

Vietnam, China to sign protocol on opening market for seafood, agro products

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam told the local media that during a recent working visit to China, the Chinese General Administration of Customs has agreed to sign a protocol regarding the export of wild-caught seafood (including lobster), and is considering opening the market for Vietnamese avocados and pomelos.

In addition, both sides agreed on protocols for the export of farmed crocodiles and domestically raised monkeys from Vietnam to China in early 2024.

"Both sides also agreed to facilitate the return of Vietnamese lobsters to the Chinese market under certain conditions," said Nam.

On fruit and vegetable products, Nam mentioned that the Chinese side agreed to expand the list of key fruits from Vietnam and expedite the completion of procedures. They will specifically consider opening the market for avocados and pomelos from Vietnam to China.

In the livestock sector, he revealed that the Chinese side also agreed to consider  Vietnam's request to export poultry products to the Chinese market. It was also highlighted that the delegation visited and worked in Guangdong Province (China), an area known for its many wholesale markets and large agricultural centers. The delegation reached an agreement with the provincial leadership and the director of the agricultural center and wholesale markets to collaborate in bringing Vietnamese agricultural products to these markets and jointly establish sustainable agricultural logistics chains.

Nam added that a director of the agricultural center in Shenzhen has suggested that a  special area be set aside in the market to display and sell Vietnamese OCOP products. “This market serves 40 million people in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Therefore, they are eager to enhance cooperation, including rice, fruits, and OCOP products, in this center," Nam added.

"After the Lunar New Year, a delegation from the Shenzhen Agricultural Center will visit Vietnam to discuss collaboration on agricultural logistics chains," he noted.

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