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Vietnam: New standards impact Vietnamese fruit exports

Vietnam: New standards impact Vietnamese fruit exports

The pandemic has impacted the value of Vietnamese fruit exports, while China’s new quality and origin standards are setting off alarms.

Vietnam earned US$3.26 billion from exporting fruit and vegetables in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 13%, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has reported. Exports were down because many items with high export value registered sharp drops in volume, such as dragon fruit (-10%), which accounts for about 36% of total export value, bananas (-13.1%), durian (-56%), lychee (-22%), and watermelon (-36%). These result have been attributed to declining imports from China. Vietnam imported 25% less fruit and vegetables than in 2019. However, stable growth was registered for exports to other countries, such as Thailand (+140 %), the US and South Korea (both +11%), and Japan (+5%). It should be remembered that fruit and vegetable exports were severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. According to MARD, Vietnam spent US$1.29 billion on importing fruit and vegetables last year, down 27.5% against 2019. Vietnam exports dragon fruit, watermelon, lychee, longan, banana, mango, jackfruit, rambutan, and mangosteen to China, which remains the country’s largest export market, accounting for 27.8% of all agricultural exports. The ministry will continue to promote the market opening process as a matter of priority.  Regarding the domestic market, heavy downpours and flooding have caused vegetable prices to rise in the central region. Similarly, southern localities have also registered increases in the prices of vegetables due to the declined supply from the provinces of Lam Dong and Dak Lak. In contrast, stable supply has led to prices of vegetables in the north seeing little fluctuation.

The search for new markets for dragon fruit

In order to enter new export markets and reduce dependency on the Chinese market, Vietnamese dragon fruit needs to increase in value. In the first 11 months of this year, dragon fruit exports fell by 10% because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but still dominated Vietnamese fruit exports, with shipments worth over US$1 billion. In Ho Chi Minh City, the fruit sells for 7,500 VND or even 6,600 VND per kg. This is because of the overwhelming dependence on the Chinese market. While it is now also exported to new markets such as the US, the EU, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, China still accounts for 92.3% of Vietnam’s dragon fruit exports. Thus, whenever there is any problem in the Chinese market such as COVID-19 pandemic, the repercussions are immediately felt in Vietnam. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the fruit’s production area now extends to about 57,000 hectares and output totals over 500,000 tons, up 20-fold from 10 years ago.

Durian, pomelo and passion fruit to be exported to China

Currently, there are nine types of fresh fruits from Vietnam authorised for export to China through official channels: dragon fruit, watermelon, lychee, longan, banana, mango, jackfruit, rambutan and mangosteen. In addition to durian, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development continues to work on gaining access to the Chinese market for exports of pomelo, passion fruit, avocado, sugar-apple, coconut, Lanxangia tsaoko and pineapple. A protocol has recently been signed to allow black jelly and sweet potato exports to China.

Avocado supply to become excessive 

According to the Department of Crop Production, avocado production area is growing many times faster than it was three years ago. Avocado is a perennial industrial cultivar that bears fruits after three years of growing and produces fruits for many years. So there must be planning at the provincial level and mass cultivation should be avoided. Moreover, Vietnam’s avocado varieties do not meet the size and quality requirements for export to the US and EU markets; neither is there currently a negotiation roadmap for the legal export of avocados to China. Therefore, enterprises, provinces, and farmers need to think carefully before planting avocado trees.

Key facts 2021

Capital: Hanoi

Geography: 63 provinces and municipalities

Land area: 331,236 sq. km

Population 98.2 million

GDP (2019): US$329.54 billion (expected to increase to almost $530.28 billion by 2025)

GDP per capita: forecasted to be US$3,758 in December 2021

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Surinver offers fresh organic products and a convenience range

Surinver offers fresh organic products and a convenience range
Photo: Surinver

Surinver, an Alicante-based agricultural cooperative dedicated to the production and distribution of fruits and vegetables, is focused on increasing organic production this campaign, while also investing in the expansion of a factory for its convenience range and a new line of pumpkin production. The cooperative has over 400 members, 300 hectares of greenhouses and 1,600 total hectares of production of different vegetables, citrus and conventional and organic fruits. Surinver also has a range of conventional and organic convenience products, with some dedicated to the food service channel. Surinver’s organic assortment is registering very positive results, with an increase of 31% in turnover compared to last year. “For us, it is essential to guarantee the highest quality in the products we supply, as well as the best care in the field. For this, we have a quality system that guarantees products from the selection of the seed to the delivery of the product, passing through strict controls to ensure maximum quality and the efficient use of resources,” said Mª Dolores López Ruiz, of the department of marketing. Surinver’s facilities are located on an area of land of 103,000 m2, with an efficient air-conditioning system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Growth in demand for fresh produce slows

Growth in demand for fresh produce slows
© Eurofresh Distribution

 

Signs have appeared indicating a slowdown in the strong growth of consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables registered during the pandemic, according to the latest data published by Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In June, the increase in consumption was 11%, but in July it was down to 4.5%, compared to the same months of 2019. This marks a significant drop from the  growth registered during the lockdown, with demand surging by 40% in April and 22% in May. 

Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in Spanish households totalled 760.8 million kilos in June, 11% more than in the same month of 2019. The total comprised 428 million kilos of fruit (+8%), 247.2 million kilos of vegetables (+13%), and 85.6 million kilos of potatoes (+18%).
In July (when the lockdown ended), the total consumption was 784.3 million kilos, of which 451.7 million kilos were fruit (+5%), 242.3 million kilos vegetables (+3%) and 90.1 million kilos potatoes (+8%).

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Fresh vegetables continue to gain ground in foodservice market

Fresh vegetables continue to gain ground in foodservice market

Whether in a smoothie for ‘on the go’, snack tomatoes in a business meeting or an 80/20 meal at a top-class restaurant… Bauke van Lenteren, Manager Convenience at vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan, has noticed that fresh vegetables are becoming an increasingly important ingredient in the growing foodservice market.

There is less data available about the foodservice market than the retail sector because it is much more fragmented. Van Lenteren: “The foodservice and convenience market is made up of several different channels, such as food chains, restaurants, vegetable processing companies and institutional catering companies. Additionally, there are significant differences between individual countries. In France, for example, catering targeted at the education sector is big business. In the UK, we’re seeing a blurring of the lines between restaurants and supermarkets. And in the USA the out-of-home market is already bigger than the retail market because American consumers eat out much more often than they cook at home. The ratio is around 70:30.”

More vegetables

Although each country is evolving differently, the market is growing overall. The statistics also show that the share of fresh vegetables in the foodservice segment is on the rise. In the Netherlands, Dutch foodservice companies purchased 10% more fruit and vegetables in 2018 than in the previous year, according to figures from GroentenFruit Huis. Salads, vegetable blends and tomatoes are most popular. Van Lenteren: “Michelin-starred chef Niven Kunz has been one of the pioneers of Dutch cuisine. He launched the 80/20 philosophy – the ratio of vegetables to meat on a plate – and inspired other chefs to do the same. A similar trend could be seen during the European Convenience Forum in Hamburg. Research has shown that the out-of-home market purchases the most fresh-cut fruit and vegetables in Germany.”

A specific variety for every snack

Van Lenteren expects this trend to continue, and Rijk Zwaan is capitalising on it with innovations. “We have a specific variety that meets the needs of the restaurant, food chain or caterer for every application. Our cos lettuce with KnoxTM is the ideal solution for Caesar salads, for example. And we have the perfect lettuce leaves for every type of sandwich – classic baguettes, hamburgers or flatbreads. In fact, our Wrap Lettuce can even replace the bread altogether. Our extra-large tomatoes can be used as hamburger toppings, and versatile babyleaf spinach is the ideal ingredient in a healthy smoothie or salad for lunch.”

Over the coming month, Rijk Zwaan will be putting these and other out-of-home applications in the spotlight. Van Lenteren: “We hope to inspire foodservice companies to use even more vegetables!” That’s how we share a healthy future.

 

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EU expands project to encourage schoolchildren to consumer fresh produce

EU expands project to encourage schoolchildren to consumer fresh produce

The European Commission’s project to ensure children have access to fresh fruits and vegetables continues to expand. In 2018/19, the Commission assigned €145.6 million for the scheme. In 2017/18, 20.2 million secondary, primary and pre-school children participated in the programme, which saw over 255 million kilos of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed to schools. Germany had the largest number of participants, followed by Poland, Romania and the UK. In Belgium and Germany, the scheme only involves fresh products, while in the other countries, a small percentage of products are also processed, including juices and soups.

Source: EU Commission

 

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Fresh Fruit: 120,000 tons of citrus fruit shipped and to all continents

The number two Moroccan group reports good growth of about 25% for its exports this season, with up to over 120,000 tons exported.

The number two Moroccan group reports good growth of about 25% for its exports this season, with up to over 120,000 tons exported. ‘Small fruit’ such as clementines and tangerines account for about 70% of the volume.

“In 5 years, the production potential of our members will grow by 35-40% thanks to new plantations,” said the group’s commercial director, Mbarek Blileg. Fresh Fruit’s members are: GPA, SKS, Priagrus, M’Brouka, Agrumar Souss and Coop Zaouia.

The group’s business strategy is to diversify markets. Eastern Europe (Russia) still represents the bulk of sales, followed by the United States and Canada for about 25%, the Nordic countries 5%, the Middle East 5% and Africa 5%.

“Our goal today is to develop our sales in Latin America and China.”