The first half of March saw the export of fruit and vegetables enjoy an annual increase of 4.8% to US$152.5 million, bringing the total export figure since the beginning of the year to US$681.7 million, an on-year fall of 6.3%.
The downward trend can be attributed to a sharp decline in export shipments to China, with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) greatly impacting trade with the country’s biggest buyer.
Ministry of Industry and Trade statistics show fruit and vegetable exports to China during the year’s first two months raked in US$300.3 million, representing a year-on-year decline of 29.4% due to the impact of the COVID-19.
Despite exports to the northern neighbour falling, the country’s fruit and vegetable exports to other markets such as Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Taiwan (China), and Russia increased significantly by 365.8%, 270.4%, 112.4%, and 246.1%, respectively, throughout the reviewed period.
With the export of fruit and vegetables to China bouncing back in early March, the prospect of exporting to other markets appeared gloomy due to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading to major markets globally such as Europe, the United States, and Japan.
Within the context of the unpredictable developments of the COVID-19, it is anticipated that processed products will be consumed more. Consequently, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has advised fruit and vegetable processors to prepare sufficient sources of material supply to boost exports after consumer markets recover from the pandemic.
With regard to the Chinese market, locals firms have been advised to restrict exports via unofficial channels as a result of the complicated nature of the COVID-19 epidemic, while also seeking to negotiate with partners to export via official routes.
Domestic enterprises should therefore also be proactive in taking steps such as changing stamps on traceability and ensuring food safety when exporting their products to this market in the future.