Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports in 2022 decreased by 6.6% compared to 2021. In contrast, imports increased by 35%. This shows that Vietnam is increasingly expanding its market but along with that, the competitive pressure that domestic manufacturers are facing has also become greater…

Mangoes are being processed for export to the EU. (Photo: Internet)

According to the General Department of Customs, Vietnam’s total export turnover of vegetables and fruits in 2022 reached 3.34 billion USD, down 6.6% compared with 2021 (3.55 billion USD). Meanwhile, from the opposite direction, the total import turnover of vegetables and fruits reached 2.02 billion USD, up to 35%.

EXPORTS DECLINED DESPITE A SUCCESSFUL MARKET OPENING

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that 2022 is considered a successful year in terms of opening the market for Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports. In particular, some fruits such as durian, fresh banana, and sweet potato have been officially exported to China through the Protocol on plant quarantine requirements signed by the two countries.

In addition to China, Vietnamese lime and grapefruit are allowed to be imported into New Zealand after the import conditions were signed by the two parties on November 15, 2022. In addition, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) also announced on the Government’s website that Vietnamese fresh longan is allowed to be imported into Japan on November 18, 2022. Another memorable event in November 2022 is that fresh grapefruit became the seventh fruit of Vietnam to be allowed to export to the US market.

In 2022, Vietnamese fruits and vegetables are mostly exported to 10 major markets, including China, the US, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan (China), the Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong (China), and Laos.

According to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, China is Vietnam’s largest export market. However, because of the “Zero Covid-19” policy, the export of vegetables and fruits to the Chinese market in 2022 only reached 1.53 billion USD, down 22% compared with 2021.

In contrast to China, the export of vegetables and fruits to other markets such as the US, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Netherlands, etc is still growing. However, due to the low volume of exports to these markets, it has not had much impact on the fruit and vegetable trade.

SPENDING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF USD IMPORTING GARLIC, WHY?

From the opposite direction, the data of the General Department of Customs show that the import turnover of vegetables and fruits in 2022 amounted to 2.02 billion USD, up 35% compared with 2021.

In particular, the turnover of vegetables accounts for 20% and 80% are fruits. In terms of import sources, China accounts for the most market share of over 40%, the US 17%, Australia 9%, New Zealand 7%, Korea 2.8%, Thailand 2.4%, etc.

In terms of imported fruits, apple is the most imported fruit, reaching 257 million USD, up 46% compared with 2021; large imports from New Zealand, China, the US, etc.

According to the Apples Association of the US, Vietnam is the third-largest export market for U.S. apples. In the apple export industry, the US achieved a record figure, Vietnam imported 2 million barrels per year, equivalent to about 40,000 tonnes. After apples, grapes are also imported with a value of 192 million USD (up 77.5% over the same period in 2021); the main source of imports is from Australia, the US, China, etc.

Regarding import sources from China, the most are potato, onion, garlic, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, mushroom, orange, tangerine, grapes, pear, apple, pomegranates, etc.

In 10 months of 2022, Vietnam spent a total of 133 million USD to import garlic. (Photo: Internet)

In particular, according to the report on the import and export of agricultural-forestry-fishery products of the Institute for Policy and Strategy for Rural Agriculture Development, in 10 months of 2022, Vietnam spent a total of 133 million USD to import garlic. Why does domestic garlic have to be “rescued” while it costs hundreds of millions of USD annually to import garlic? This is the question by experts.

Not only importing garlic from China, in 10 months of 2022, Vietnam also spent 10.9 million USD to import mushrooms, up 73.4%; 8.8 million USD to import carrots, up 183.3%; 8.2 million USD to import apples, up 87%; 7 million USD to import potatoes or 6.8 million USD to import grapes.

Ten years ago, media investigations revealed the phenomenon of “two-way business trips” from Vietnamese merchants. Garlic was collected in Nam Sach, Kim Mon (Hai Duong) at the price of 20,000-25,000/kg of fresh garlic then dried and packaged for export to China at the price of 40,000-45,000 VND/kg.

In the opposite direction, Vietnam imported Chinese garlic at the price of 10,000 VND/kg for sale in the domestic market. Chinese garlic is very cheap, easy to peel, and can be “left for a whole year” without rotting or sprouting. This is the cause why they were imported although the quality can not compare with domestic garlic, especially Kim Mon garlic or Ly Son garlic./.

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