Pepper industry aims US$1 billion annual export target

The pepper industry is hoping to attain an annual export value of US$1 billion within the next few years, buoyed by increasing global demand for the staple.

Based on market forecasts, the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA) expects pepper exports to reach 130,000 tonnes this year with a market value of US$850 million, an increase of US$55 million over last year's figures and US$157 million more than 2011. 

VPA chairman Do Ha Nam said pepper prices had continued to go up in recent years, encouraging farmers to expand their pepper growing to regions without arable conditions, including the northern and southern areas in Lam Dong province. 

Statistics from the association showed that Vietnam cultivates around 2,000 additional hectares of new pepper plantations each year. The area was expected to reach 60,000 hectares next year while Government figures place predict around 50,000 hectares by 2020. 

It is said the average price of black pepper last month reached US$6,471 per tonne, representing an US$81 increase in comparison with last year and US$834 per tonne higher than 2011. 

He said Vietnam had not wanted to sell black pepper however conceded the price of the ingredient last week climbed to US$6,650 per tonne. 

Vietnam has been the world's largest pepper producer, thus allowing farmers and exporters to be active in controlling selling quantity. This has helped pepper prices fluctuate around VND110,000-130,000 per kilo for the past three years. 

Vietnamese pepper is exported to more than 80 countries and territories, with the EU, Asia and the US being the largest importers. 

Pepper is grown primarily in the provinces of Binh Phuoc, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

VNA/VOV online