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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        15  March 2011

Rising world food demand to lift exports

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Increasing demand in overseas markets will raise the value of Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports up significantly this year, the Vietnam Economic Times reports.

Nearly 50 percent of Vietnamese fruit and greens exports are to the Chinese market where demand for these products are rising.

The consumption of fruits and vegetables in other markets in the world was also expected to increase sharply in the 2010-15 period, the report said.

Vietnam's fruit and vegetable export revenues were estimated at more than US$471 million last year, 7.4 per cent higher than the previous year. Fresh and processed fruits accounted for the majority of the total revenue, taking up 36.6 per cent of the 2010 export value. They would continue to be the major export products this year, said the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association (Vinafruit).

Dragon fruit was the most exported product, posting revenues of $58 million in 2010, an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous year. Last year, a large number of dragon fruit growers in Vietnam received Global GAP and EU GAP certification which has boosted exports of their produce.

Vegetable exports, meanwhile, were valued at more than $94 million last year, accounting for 25 per cent or so of the total fruit and greens exports.

Last year also saw a remarkable increase in export value of flowers, nearly 40 percent higher than in 2009.

The export value of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to the Chinese market, mostly fruits, reached $235 million last year.

Japan is the second biggest market behind China for Vietnamese fruits and greens. Export revenues from this market reached $54.5 million, over 26 per cent higher than 2009. The export volume of fruits and greens to the Japanese market has been increasing every year by at least 10 per cent since 2007. More than 20 new varieties of fruits and greens have been added to the exports list to this market since last year.

Meanwhile, export revenues to the US last year topped $26 million, making it the fifth biggest consumer of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables after China, Japan, the Netherlands and Russia. In recent years, the US has been importing more fresh produce rather than canned products from Vietnam.

The US would import 1.2 million tonnes of fruits each year in the coming years, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. This means Viet Nam has a big chance to boost exports to this market, the Vietnam Economic Times said, adding that it was necessary for Vietnamese firms to have a long term strategy to improve exports to the American market.

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