01. Fruit and vegetable exports brought in more than 3.2 billion USD in the year of Covid
In 2020, Vietnam's fruit and vegetable industry will face the COVID-19 pandemic, which will directly affect life, economy and society, disrupt global supply chains and directly affect production. and export, import and consumption activities in many markets.
Sharing with the writer, Mr. Nguyen Dinh Tung, General Director of Vina T&T Company, said that 2020 is a year of many difficulties, not only epidemics, but also saltwater intrusion and a number of natural disasters that have co-operated. leading to a decrease in exports compared to every year.
"The COVID-19 epidemic has caused us to social distance for 3 weeks and then even the importing countries have social distancing, so we have been inactive for a month and a half, the company's fruit exports decreased from 20-30% compared to the time before the epidemic, only from 100-150 tons/week.
However, the fruit and vegetable industry recovered quickly after that. With Vina T&T, the company has recovered 90-95% after the epidemic, by the end of 2020, although it is down 7% compared to the set target, it still has growth compared to last year," Tung said.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade estimated that fruit and vegetable exports in December 2020 reached $260 million, up 1.3% compared to November 2020, but down 20.7% compared to December 2019. For the whole year of 2020, Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports are estimated at 3.26 billion USD, down 13% compared to 2019.
Commenting on this result, Mr. Dang Phuc Nguyen, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said: "This reduction in the fruit and vegetable industry is not much compared to other industries also affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. . This is a bright spot when many other items have dropped very sharply."
Statistics also show that November 2020 is the second consecutive month that fruit and vegetable exports have increased in 2020.
The export value of vegetables and fruits to the Chinese market still accounts for the largest proportion, but sharply decreased by nearly 26% in the first 11 months of 2020, reaching nearly 1.7 billion USD. The cause of the sharp decline in the export of fruit and vegetables to China is due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notably, although the export value of Vietnam's vegetables and fruits to markets such as the US, South Korea, Japan and Australia only accounts for a small proportion, they all grew quite well in the first 11 months of 2020.
According to the Import-Export Department, this confirms that the quality of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable products has met high requirements in the markets.
In which, the export value of Vietnam's fruit and vegetable products to the Australian market increased sharply in the first 11 months of 2020, reaching 57.9 million USD, an increase of nearly 50% compared to the same period in 2019. This is considered a market. export potential for the fruit and vegetable industry.
Besides, despite being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam's fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand still increased sharply in the first 11 months of 2020, reaching 148.96 million USD, up 141.5% compared to the previous year. same period in 2019.
02. What prospects for the fruit and vegetable industry in 2021
According to Mr. Dang Phuc Nguyen, vegetables and fruits are still essential items for consumers' health, especially in the context of the epidemic. Therefore, fruit and vegetable products are still in high demand in 2021.
"The export target of the fruit and vegetable industry in 2021 is 4 billion USD, the number that the industry would have achieved in 2020 if there was no COVID-19," Mr. Nguyen forecasted and added if the situation was difficult. difficulties, it will probably reach the pre-epidemic level of about 3.7 billion USD, equal to 2019.
This is also Mr. Nguyen Dinh Tung's comment when he said that the space of the fruit and vegetable industry in the world market is still very large, the prospect of exporting vegetables and fruits in 2021 is expected to be better, especially when Vietnam signed many free trade agreements such as EVFTA, UKVFTA, RCEP.
"The fruit and vegetable industry can take advantage of these agreements in 2021 when we have built a solid agricultural foundation, meeting the needs and technical barriers of countries. Accordingly, Fruit and vegetable export output in 2021 will probably be better than 2020", a representative of Vina T&T forecast.
However, according to Mr. Tung, in the context of the epidemic, consumers in other countries will pay more attention to health issues, so they will strengthen technical barriers, including China, which is considered an easy market. is also becoming more difficult.
"Businesses must have a methodical investment such as the planting area must meet Global GAP, the factory must have ISO, HACCAP certification, social and environmental certification... These are the things that must be obtained before negotiating with partner.
And when we have customers, we also have to maintain these conditions because if we don't strictly control the risk of shipments being canceled or blacklisted, the greater the risk," said Mr. Nguyen Dinh Tung.
Besides investment, this enterprise believes that understanding the requirements and regulations of importing countries is very important.
For example, in the US, this market requires a growing area code issued by the US, fresh fruits and vegetables must be irradiated, and the packaging factory must meet the standards issued by the US. In the EU, certifications such as Global GAP, HACCAP, ISO ... or Japan and Korea also have their own regulations, so when entering any market, it is necessary to carefully understand the regulations.
According to the Import-Export Department to boost the export of vegetables and fruits in 2021, exporters should increase investment in processed and preserved products of vegetables and fruits to meet export requirements in the context of the pandemic. The disease is still not under control, natural disasters are forecasted to continue to develop complicatedly in 2021.
Besides, the Import-Export Department said that with the improvement of living standards of Chinese people, consumers increasingly appreciate the quality and safety of agricultural products and food. China is still the market with large purchasing power and the largest destination for Vietnamese fruit and vegetable products.
To promote exports to this market, businesses need to improve the quality of fruit and vegetable products and meet the standards required by the Chinese side.
However, it is also important to pay attention to regulatory controls from the markets. Typically, with the Chinese market, according to Mr. Dang Phuc Nguyen, the strengthening of control of the COVID-19 epidemic at the market's border gates such as the time for container inspection increased from 1 hour to about 1-2 days is causing difficulties. fruit and vegetable export activities are hindered due to high costs and affecting the quality of goods.
In addition, Thailand is increasingly tightening the criteria for imported products. Specifically, recently, Thailand has issued a new standard on pesticide residues for imported agricultural products.
And so far, Thailand has only officially licensed four types of Vietnamese fruits to this market: red and white flesh dragon fruit, mango, longan, and litchi.
Notably, according to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, another difficulty that the industry is facing since the end of 2020 and may continue next year is the difficulty of logictis.
"The demand for goods from other countries is positive, but our transportation is lacking in both sea and air, so freight rates are pushed up, affecting consumption.
While the end of the year, and especially the Lunar New Year, is the time when the Chinese market consumes a lot of fruits for worshiping, but I don't have the means to transport them," said Nguyen. This situation is likely to last until the end of the first quarter of 2021.