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Vietnam Needs Technology to Develop Vegetable Export
27 | 09 | 2007
The Vietnamese fruit and vegetable industry needs to apply more technology in growing and processing products, in order to increase the country’s exports, economists said.
Vietnam’s total vegetable output reached 6 million tons in 2006, but most was for local consumption. Export turnover, despite recent increases, brought only US$60 million last year. Insufficient planning and small-scale production have been blamed for the low turn over.
To earn US$500-700 million by 2010 and US$1 billion by 2015 from exporting fruit and vegetables, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has adjusted the national program on developing production and exports of fruit and vegetables, paying more attention to improving technology.
The MARD will closely coordinate with the Ministry of Trade to boost exports to foreign markets, helping farmers produce goods to international standards, said Minister Cao Duc Phat
In fact, some models have seen satisfactory results with average earnings VND400-500 million per ha per year, ten times higher than growing rice or other crops.
However, these models are not yet adopted nationwide in Vietnam, a country with 1.5 million ha of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables.
In the first stages, several pilot models of fruit and vegetable farming for export will be applied in northern mountainous and midland provinces, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, HCM City and some Mekong Delta provinces.
Concentrated plantations and trading centers that apply modern technology and advanced trading methods will be established in these areas.
The MARD will encourage all models that involve farming households in developing safe and high-quality vegetable growing areas, said Minister Cao Duc Phat, adding that the ministry will attach importance to building product trademarks.
“We call on domestic and foreign businesses as well as cooperatives to take part in the program,” Phat said at a recent meeting with the press. “It is difficult for Vietnamese farmers to get rich if they only live on rice” he said, citing annual world spending on rice at some US$9 billion, while the figure for fruit and vegetables is US$100 billion.”
But the word in business circles, especially among foreign investors, is potential; namely that of Vietnam. Several Japanese investors have brought new vegetable varieties to Vietnam and provided farmers with effective ways to grow and sell them. Meanwhile, investors from Taiwan have taken the opportunity to grow some temperate zone vegetable varieties in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
The banking sector has also voiced interest in the field. Recently, An Binh Bank leaders announced the bank was ready to cooperate with domestic and foreign partners in building infrastructure and renewing technologies to grow and process safe fruit and vegetables for export.
Vietnam is estimated to earn US$105 million from fruit and vegetable exports in the first four months of 2007, an on year rise of 20.3 per cent, and fulfilling 35 per cent of the country’s yearly plan, the General Statistics Office said.
Trade Ministry said the export rise is partly thanks to increased export to China. The ministry forecast vegetable export to China will continue soaring, with high demand from neighboring provinces Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Xiamen.
In the past weeks, Vietnam shipped around 110 tons of fruits and vegetables a day to China, which is expected to increase to 130 tons in early May. The exports mostly were durian, Chau Nghe mango (Tra Vinh), star apple (seedless), King orange (Tien Giang), mangosteen, custard apple with prices rising by 3-5 per cent from March.

(VNA, Vietnam Agriculture, GSO Apr Edition)
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