|Dragon fruits for exports (Photo: VNA)
Over the next four years, the IFC will collaborate with the department to expand shipments of international-standard produce such as dragon fruit and passion fruit, which have the fastest growth in high value markets.
Although Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports tripled from 2013 to 2018, most products are still exported through informal channels at less competitive prices due to incomplete quality standards.
To address this restriction, the two sides will work together to improve the legal framework and public services to open new export markets. They will also endeavour to improve the quality of dragon fruit and passion fruit by updating and implementing plant quarantine and traceability regulations in accordance with international practices and the requirements of importing countries.
When tariffs are no longer a trade barrier thanks to free trade agreements, the implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary requirements is extremely important for Vietnamese agricultural products to penetrate overseas markets, according to Director of the Plant Protection Department Hoang Trung.
Based on cooperation with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Japanese Government and the Korea Green Growth Trust Fund - part of the World Bank Group, the IFC will support Vietnam to implement an online system of requirements, involving exports of dragon fruit and passion fruit by 2022, he added.
Vietnam exported US$836 million worth of fruit and vegetables in the first quarter of 2020, a year-on-year decline of 10.9%, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
China continued to take the lead with over US$300 million, down 29.4% compared to the same period last year. The sharp decline was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, other markets recorded slight year-on-year growth from January-March, such as Indonesia with US$2.1 million compared to only US$164,800 in the same period in 2019, Thailand US$35.2 million against US$7.6 million one year ago, Laos US$9.6 million compared to US$2.6 million last year, Russia US$8.2 million against US$2.4 million in the same period last year, and Cambodia US$885,300 from US$340,000 from one year ago.