There was a export seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on October 9th 2017. In the seminar, experts and businesses discussed ways to expand EU markets for exporting fruits and vegetables from Vietnam.
Le Thanh Hoa, an official from Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in 2013, the EU suspended imports of fresh fruits and vegetables from Vietnam after detecting plant quarantine problems. The EU is a potential market for fresh fruits and vegetables from Vietnam. However, Vietnam could face a decline in export revenue with stricter supervision if it fails to meet food safety requirements.
Although improvements by Vietnamese ministries, sectors and businesses have helped fresh fruits and vegetables from Vietnam be re-exported to the EU, shipments to this market have yet to live up to expectations, he noted.
In the first nine months of 2017, Vietnam recorded more than $ 2.6 billion in total exports, up 44.2%. However, Vietnam spent $ 1.1 billion in imports of fruits and vegetables, up 78.2% year on year.
Asian markets remained the top destination for the Vietnamese products. The second largest market was EU, which imported 680,000 MTs of fruits and vegetables from Vietnam.
Despite good export growth, Vietnamese businesses may face many barriers from imported countries. They are safeguard measures, plant protection and quarantine laws, and food safety standards.
Ruggero Malossi, a specialist of the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project, said the EU has high requirements for food safety. Therefore, production of fresh agricultural products from Vietnam must comply with legal regulations.
Among the main requirements, exporters must apply a concrete quality control process during processing and packaging. They must also ensure their products’ traceability.
Vietnam uses the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) approach to ensure quality and safety in the fishery sector. It should also apply HACCP on the production, harvesting and processing of fresh fruit and vegetables, Malossi said.
Meanwhile, Dam Quoc Tru, a Vietnamese specialist, asked ministries and sectors to build an appropriate strategy for each market and provide convenient transportation services for Vietnam’s strong products like dragon fruit, longan, rambutan, grapefruit and mango. They should also involve the private sector in inspection and quarantine.
Businesses have to develop concentrated areas for producing key export products, a prerequisite for sustainable agricultural production. It is also necessary for them to stay updated on quarantine, preservation and processing technologies to meet the growing requirements of importers, Tru added.