Vietnam aims to gain 5 billion USD from farm produce exports by 2020. (Photo: vneconomy.vn)
General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association Dang Phuc Nguyen said at a recent forum that the target is achievable as Vietnamese fruit have won the taste of both domestic customers and those in 60 countries and territories.
Dozens of Vietnamese fruits have met stringent standards to enter fastidious markets. Most recently, mango earned permission to enter the US market in February after ten years of negotiation, following dragon fruit, longan, rambutan, litchi and star apple.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department, quarantine checks are conducted meticulously before shipping fruits to such choosy markets as the US, Japan and Russia.
Besides, Vietnamese veggie and fruit exporters have ample opportunities to expand their markets after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) took effect early this year and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to come into force soon.
Sharing the view, Deputy Head of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Do Quoc Hung said Vietnamese fruits and vegetables have received good feedback from customers in Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK), which is an advantage that Vietnam should make full use of.
The RoK now imports 8.5 billion USD worth of veggie and fruits each year, while Vietnamese exports to this East Asian country are only valued at more than 300 million USD. As for Japanese market, which purchases 3.4 billion USD worth of fresh fruits and 2.5 billion USD of vegetable each year, Vietnamese shipment only account for over 1 percent.
Hung said that strong import growth in the US and the EU is seen as a good sign for Vietnamese firms to boost shipments to the markets.
However, small-scale production and processing are posing great challenges for Vietnamese fruit and vegetable sector.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said that localities that hold strengths in fruit and vegetable cultivation should expand planting areas with intensive application of high technologies.
Further efforts should be made to improve food safety and hygiene to ensure that more products receive safe and organic certificates, he said, adding that complete production chains from growing to distribution must be set up to increase value of the products and enhance overseas shipments.
In addition, localities should work out suitable policies to attract investment into the sector, and prioritise brand development and registration of geographical indication, he added.