Statistics from the General Department of Customs showed that for the first nine months, Vietnam imported US$650 million worth of fruits and vegetables, a 42% increase compared to the same period last year. It is predicted that US$1 billion would be spent on fruits by the end of the year.
Thai fruits and vegetables are becoming Vietnamese favourites as US$289 million had been spent on products from this country alone. Thailand was followed by China and Cambodia at US$150 million.
Demand for imported products is on the rise even for products produced domestically. Local firms are facing tough competition on quality, quantity and brand recognition.
Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports depend greatly on China.
As of September, the export turnover of fruit was second only behind aqua-products and higher than rice. Vietnam earned US$1.68 billion from fruit exports by September 15, an increase of 31% compared to same period last year, of which US$1.3 billion was exported to China.
Turnover from the Republic of Korea reached US$65 million and followed by the turnover to the US and Japan with US$60 million and US$56 million.
Rice, Vietnam's key agriculture commodity, is facing stiff competition. Exports to Philippines as of September reached 337,800 tonnes, worth US$143 million, significantly lower than last year's US$275 million.
The World Bank (WB) has warned that Vietnam should change its agricultural techniques to ensure higher quality products and sustainable development.