Fruit and vegetable exporters should improve their processing technologies, especially in the post-harvest and packaging stages, to keep their products longer and increase their value, experts said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that the value of fruit and vegetable exports in the first quarter was $ 950 million, an increase of 6.1 percent year-on-year. other. Due to the impact of COVID-19, exports last year fell slightly to $ 3.26 billion.
According to Đang Phuc Nguyen, secretary general of the Vietnam Vegetable Association, new generation free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are helping Vietnamese companies increase their fruit and vegetable exports this year.
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The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKFTA) hit late last year allowed more than 94 percent of fruit and vegetables to be exported tax free, a- he declared. Many key products such as lychee, longan, rambutan, dragon fruit and pineapple would benefit, as tropical fruits from competing countries such as Brazil, Thailand and Malaysia have no FTA with UK, he said.
Experts said that to take advantage of the opportunities and boost exports, companies should improve the quality of their fruits and vegetables to meet the standards required by import markets. Nguyen Quoc Toan, director general of the General Department of Agricultural Product Processing and Market Development, said post-harvest losses accounted for 10 percent of rice production, 10-20 percent of root and tuber crops and 10-30 percent of fruits and vegetables.
In the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s rice bowl, post-harvest losses amounted to more than 3 trillion dong ($ 132 million) per year, he said. The country’s preservation methods were basic and outdated, its transport, storage and cold storage were of poor quality and there were very few deeply processed products, he said.
The packaging of agricultural products also plays a very important role in their post-harvest conservation, but Vietnamese companies are not paying attention to it, experts say. Some 70 percent of fruit and vegetable exports go to neighboring China, mostly in fresh and unprocessed form.
Not much goes to South Korea, Japan, the US or the EU due to limitations in storage and post-harvest handling.
For more information:
Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality