With a growing middle class and high GDP growth, Vietnam has become an ideal market for foreign fruit exporters, experts have said.
In the last five years, foreign fruit exporters, especially those from the US, Japan, Australia and Canada, have been looking for import partners in Vietnam.
Last year, Vietnam spent 1.77 billion USD importing fruits and vegetables, and the figure is expected to rise.
Prior to the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, Sunkist-brand oranges from the US were being sold at the Korean E-mart supermarket and the Thu Duc agriculture wholesale market in HCM City. The oranges are expected to be sold at VinMart soon.
According to Sunkist Growers, Inc., a not-for-profit organisation in the US, the oranges have recently been approved for export to Vietnam.
The US also exports apples, grapes, cherries, pears and blueberries to Vietnam.
Benjamin Petlock, an agricultural consultant at the US Department of Agriculture, said the US was able to export the oranges to Vietnam after many years of effort.
Australia has also exported a large amount of fruits to Vietnam in recent years.
Last year, Australian wine growers made two trips to the country to find ways to boost export of fruits, especially seasonal grapes.
In addition, exports from Asia, including the Republic of Korean (RoK) and Japanese fruits such as strawberries, green grapes and others are also available in Vietnam.
A representative of the Korean supermarket chain K-Mart in Vietnam said the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KVFTA) has been in effect for four years, boosting Korean seasonal fruit exports to Vietnam.
Fresh Korean agricultural products are transported by air to Vietnam. The main exports are from the RoK’s Gimcheon, Gyeonggi-do and Gyeongnam provinces, which are the most developed agricultural areas in the RoK.
With its 17 free trade agreements (FTAs), of which 13 are already active, Vietnam's population of 97 million makes it a market of high potential. And, with import tax rates of goods from markets with FTA dropping sharply, agricultural products and foodstuff exports can enter Vietnam more easily.
Jeff Scott, director of Australian Table Grape Association, Inc., said new varieties were coming into production for export this year, such as Sweet Surrender, Ivory Seedless, Sweet Nectar, Magenta, Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration, Luisco seedless, and others.
Thompson seedless and Crimson seedless grapes are still expected to be Australia’s main export varieties, he said.
“Looking at this year’s crop forecast, the main table grape variety exported to Vietnam from previous years, Thompson and Crimson seedless, will see increased production volumes of 7.4 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.”
Total Australian exports over the last year increased 33 percent, while exports to Vietnam grew 81 percent.
“We are confident that the forecast for main varieties exported to Vietnam will increase substantially in the next 10 years,” he said. “Vietnam is also the fourth largest import market for fresh grapes from Australia.”
Statistics from the US Department of Agriculture showed that US fresh fruit exports to Vietnam reached 97 million USD in the first 10 months of last year, up 46 percent over the same period in 2018. Vietnam is the US’s ninth largest fruit importer.
Thailand is Vietnam’s largest import market, accounting for more than 43 percent of the total value, followed by China with 23 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
With increasing disposable income and concerns about food safety, Vietnamese consumers are willing to pay more for imported food products, which they view as having higher quality and safety standards, experts said.
The high growth of modern retail outlets with improved infrastructure, such as cold chains, helps maintain the quality of imported products and gives consumers access to well-preserved products./.VNS
Vietnam has become the ninth largest importer of fresh fruit from the US.
With favourable natural conditions, the Mekong delta region is home to diverse fruit species. When Tet (Lunar New Year) comes, exotic fruits are offered for sales to serve people’s demand.