Thai fruits moves to high level

Thailand's fruit output is only 5.43 million tons a year, but its export turnover in 2022 is expected to reach $8.53 billion. The above figures make many people "startled" and they may question when the Vietnamese fruit industry will catch up with that of Thailand.

According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam's fruit output reaches up to 12-13 million tons/year. Therefore, Vietnamese fruits are not only enough for domestic consumption but also for exporting to 60 countries and territories around the world, earning billions of USD for the country annually.

In 2019, Vietnam's export turnover of vegetables and fruits reached $3.7 billion, higher than export revenue from rice. However, it fell to $3.26 billion in 2020 and $3.55 billion in 2021. At the same time, that of Thailand increased from $3.76 billion in 2019 to over $4.2 billion in 2020 and up to $5.3 billion in 2021.

Thailand's Ministry of Commerce set a target to achieve exports worth 287.50 billion baht (US$8.53 billion) from fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit, including 180 billion baht from the Chinese market, up 65% from last year. If this goal is achieved, Thailand's export turnover will increase nearly 2.3 times compared to 2019. The number startled many people, because Thailand's total fruit output is only 5.43 million tons/year.

For Vietnam, Vietnam's fruit output is nearly 2.4 times higher, but export turnover still stands at more than $3 billion/year.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said that for many years, Vietnam has been chasing the output target, not focusing on the market. He cited China as an example: China is the main export market of both Vietnam and Thailand. Every day when the Beijing wholesale market opens, Thai farmers can grasp the price and market an hour later. Vietnamese farmers are a bit slower in the issue of information, even passively letting Chinese traders come to the garden to buy fruits without knowing what the market is like, what products are needed.

Vietnamese farmers are passively selling what they have, not what the market needs. Moreover, Vietnam’s fruit processing capacity is still limited, mainly exporting fresh fruit (accounting for 75.9%). Therefore, whenever farmers have a good crops of fruits, they suffer from the drop of fruit prices. That has been considered a "curse" of the agricultural industry and farmers.

According to Ms. Vu Kim Hanh - Chairman of the Business Association of High Quality Vietnamese Products - the mindset of fruit farmers in Thailand has changed. They have organized an ecosystem of throughout companionship to support and help each other. They have gone into deep processing with higher qualifications. While Vietnamese farmers are selling fresh durian, dried durian, and frozen durian, Thailand has organized durian buffets at restaurants.

Thailand has invested heavily in market research and development. Thai universities or research institutes all set out strategies for the distant future. Marketing is also invested to become more professional and Thailand's marketing programs have been highly effective, Hanh said.

Standardization of production areas

Agriculture Minister Le Minh Hoan said that all changes are very difficult, but without departure there will be no end. Each fruit product must have its own development strategy, from production to marketing and brand building.

In the past 2 years, the export of fresh fruit products has decreased due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic. However, Vietnam's passion fruit grew suddenly. In the first 5 months of this year, exports of processed passion fruit increased by 185% over the same period last year.

According to experts, although this kind of fruit has only been developed in recent years, instead of selling it fresh, farmers have processed it into many different products. Therefore, they can earn VND400-600 million per hectare – a fairly high income compared to other fruits.

Recently, the project of building a center for linkage, production, processing and consumption of agricultural products for the Mekong Delta in Can Tho city is one of six important contents in Resolution No. 45/2022/QH15 on piloting a number of specific mechanisms and policies for the development of Can Tho city, approved by the National Assembly.

The establishment of such a center is said to play a key role in linking farmers, manufacturers and import-export enterprises.

Mr. Tran Cong Thang - Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) - said that this model is popular in the world. These models contribute to enhancing the added value of agricultural products, managing supply well, connecting fields, forming service support centers, connecting markets, creating jobs, and raising economic value. For Vietnam, this is a new model. The construction of logistics centers also solves the “curse” of the Vietnamese agriculture "good harvest, falling price".

Tam An