First two months of 2017: Import of vegetables and fruits saw strong growth

Vietnam spent 164 million USD importing vegetables and fruits during Jan-Feb, a year-on-year increase of 54.7 percent, the General Department of Customs said. The country’s import of vegetables and fr

Most imports were from Thailand, which accounted for 50 percent or 82 million USD, and China, which stood at 19 percent or 31 million USD, of the total vegetable and fruit imports.

Other major markets that Vietnam has imported vegetables and fruits from are the US for a value of 13 million USD, New Zealand for 3.8 million USD and Australia for 2.5 million USD.

The import value of vegetables and fruits from Thailand in the first two months doubled the figure of the same period in 2016, the general department said.

Since 2012, Vietnam’s average vegetable and fruit import value has surged from 200 million USD per year to 1 billion USD.

According to the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and of Industry and Trade, the country has been importing vegetable and fruit products mostly from Asia Pacific countries. The main items imported include cabbage, lettuce, potato, orange and apple from China; apple, orange and cherry from New Zealand and Australia; and mango, custard apple and tamarind from Thailand.

Recently, the General Department of Customs warned that many goods that are being produced locally have been imported, increasing the trade deficit. They included vegetables and fruits from China, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

The department pointed out that vegetable and fruit imports from Thailand have increased sharply in the past two years, and that many of these products are already produced at home.

Thai vegetables and fruits entered the local market via distribution channels of hypermarkets and modern retail shops after Thai retail groups bought two large hypermarkets, Big C and Metro, in 2015 and 2016. They have been promoting Thai products at the hypermarkets as well as retail sale systems in Vietnam.

Vu Vinh Phu, Chairman of the Hanoi Supermarket Association, said Vietnam should only import vegetables and fruits that it did not produce locally, such as cherries. It was importing fruits that it grows, such as longan, mango, durian and dragon fruit, which has affected the Vietnamese vegetable and fruit producers, whose competitive ability in terms of quality and price is weak.