Should Vietnam Be Focusing On Fruit Exports?

Vietnamese leaders are being called on to rethink whether Vietnam should become a big rice exporter or a fruit export power, as fruit export turnover exceed rice exports in the first seven months of this year for the first time  A newly released report by the General Department of Customs (GDC) shows that Vietnam earned $1.35 billion from fruit exports, but only had $1.32 billion from rice exports.

The figure, in the eyes of analysts, could be a shock to the Vietnamese, who have been proud of being one of the biggest rice exporters in the world. 

To protect the title of the world’s biggest rice exporter, Vietnam has made heavy investments in the rice cultivation area, the labour force and in investment capital, far exceeding investment in fruit production.

Fruit production, a newly emerging field in the last few years, has quickly outstripped rice production, which has been receiving preferences for a long time.

Nguyen Quoc Vong, an agriculture expert, said on Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon that the superiority of fruit over rice export was foreseeable. The analyst, while noting that the rice export in the first months of the year was unsatisfactory because of the serious drought in the Mekong River Delta and the price decrease in the world market, said that the superiority is inevitable.

The fruit exports have been growing steadily in the last few years. In 2012, the fruit export turnover was $770 million only. Meanwhile, the figure soared to $1.04 billion 2013, to $1.47 billion in 2014 and $2.2 billion in 2015.

Just within four years, from 2012 to 2015, Vietnam’s fruit export value increased by three times. Meanwhile, the rice export value has not increased considerably in recent years, at around $2.7-2.8 billion a year.

“Why doesn’t Vietnam think of pushing up the export of fruits instead of rice if the world’s fruit market is larger?” the analyst said.

He cited a report of FAO as saying that in 2010, the world’s rice market was worth $17 billion, while the global fruit market was $97 billion.

If considering the total demand of different kinds fresh fruits & vegetables, as well as canned, dried & frozen products, the figure was $203 billion in 2014, and would be $320 billion by 2020, according to a Zion Research report.

(Tuoi Tre News)

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