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Vietnam’s farm exports in deadlock as China changes policy

After tightening technical barriers, China now may suspend imports for at least six weeks during the Tet holiday. About 1 million tons of Vietnamese fruit may suffer from the decision.

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Jackfruit growers in Mekong Delta are worried as the prices have been falling. They now sell jackfruit at VND1, 000-5,000 per kilogram, but they need to sell at VND10,000 per kilogram to break even.

Farmers said the low prices have prevailed for a long time, while there’s no sign of recovery as demand is low.

Local merchants said jackfruit exports to China are going very slowly, which explains why domestic prices have stayed at low levels. Meanwhile, the output is predicted to be high and farmers are continuing harvests from now to 2022 Tet holiday.

Tien Giang province is a big fruit area of Vietnam. Local farmers grow 11 specialty fruits on an area of 80,000 hectares. Its fruit exports are suffering from the Chinese policy on closing some border gates.

Binh Thuan Agriculture Department and the province’s dragon fruit association have received a notice that dragon fruit exports to China may suffer because the country is tightening Covid-19 inspections. As a result of the new policy, a high number of farm produce trucks are getting stuck at border gates.

On November 29, Lang Son sent a dispatch to cities and provinces with recommendations on farm produce exports to China. It said the number of vehicles carrying fruit from southern provinces to the border gate in Lang Son is increasing rapidly for the year-end sale season, but China has tightened inspections, causing congestion.

The provincial authorities asked localities, associations and enterprises to apply measures to regulate transport to prevent farm produce from getting rotten while waiting for customs clearance.

Secretary General of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association Dang Phuc Nguyen said at a recent forum that the association has received information about China’s intention to suspend imports for at least six weeks during the Tet holiday. This may worsen global supply chain disruption.

Prior to that, Guangxi's Pingxiang International Fruit Association said that 100 percent of Vietnam’s fruit exports to China must be inspected, but the figure is just 30 percent for Thai products.

Le Thanh Tung from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said fruit output is expected to reach 700,000 tons in December, including 200,000 tons of dragon fruit, and 1.7 million tons in January 2022.

He warned that southern provinces may have difficulties buying fruits in Q1 2022 if the pandemic developments remain complicated. 

Tam An

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