15 April 2023, VN: In 2023, Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports can reach US$ 4 billion critical milestone for the first time, after many years of approaching this target mark.
In the first quarter of 2023, vegetables and fruits were one of the few agricultural products of Vietnam that grew in export turnover. To be more specific, fruit and vegetable exports reached US$ 982 million in the first quarter of this year, up 16.2% compared to the same period in 2022.
According to Mr. Dang Phuc Nguyen, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, China reopening the border is critical in helping Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports achieve good growth in the first quarter.
Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to China dropped sharply in 2022 due to the influence of this country’s Zero Covid policy. This was the first time Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports experienced a severe drop in terms of export turnover with the Chinese market accounting for less than 50% of the total export value. The closed borders of the billion-people market was also the main reason why Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports generally declined compared to 2021.
Now China is reopening and Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to this country are making a strong comeback. In the first quarter, fruit and vegetable exports to China reached USD 576 million, accounting for 58.7% of total fruit and vegetable export value, which is an increase of more than 27% over the same period in 2022.
Other foreign markets continue to open for various Vietnam’s fresh fruits, such as pomelos licensed for export to the USA, fresh lemons and pomelos licensed to New Zealand’s market, or fresh longans allowed to export to Japan.
Earlier this year, the EU announced the removal of official and urgent control of four of Vietnam’s spices, including parsley, coriander, basil, and mint products. Thus, Vietnam’s vegetables, as mentioned above, and spice products are no longer controlled at 50% when exported to the EU market. This announcement will soon promote the export of these four spices as well as the export of vegetables and fruits to the EU.
Mr. Dang Phuc Nguyen said that if taking advantage of the signed protocols related to fruit and vegetable products with China and free trade agreements such as EVFTA, CPTPP, and RCEP, the growth of Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports is forecasted to increase by 20% higher than in 2022, reaching the US$ 4 billion mark for the first time in history.
Although market opportunities are wide open, Vietnam still needs to step up the implementation of solutions to remove the difficulties and limitations of the fruit and vegetable industry. Firstly, a solution must be to promote investment in deep processing so Vietnamese vegetables and fruits can penetrate complex markets.
In fact, in recent years, Vietnam’s processed vegetables and fruits are continuously growing in export value to meeting the needs of the world market. In 2022, the export of processed fruits and vegetables surpassed the US$ 1 billion mark for the first time, increasing 9.8% compared to 2021 and accounting for almost 30% of the total export value of vegetables and fruits.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development needs to speed up the signing with China of phytosanitary protocols for items officially exported to this market. Still, it has yet to have phytosanitary protocols, such as dragon fruit, mango, longan, watermelon, jackfruit, and rambutan, and open more doors for other Vietnam fruit and vegetable products such as green-skinned pomelo, fresh coconut, avocado, pineapple, and breast milk
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