Agri Commodities

Middle East, Africa Possess High Demand For Vietnamese Fruits And Vegetables: Ministry Of Industry And Trade

High Demand For Vietnamese Fruits And Vegetables

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, there is a significant opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to increase exports due to the Middle East and Africa’s high demand for fruits and vegetables.

As Per Nguyễn Minh Phương

According to Nguyn Minh Phng, director of the ministry’s Asia-Africa market division, the Middle East, which comprises 15 countries and has a population of roughly 400 million, has a high per capita income. According to her, these countries import substantial amounts of agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables.

Although there is a sizable demand for agricultural products in Africa as well, she claimed that Vietnamese companies only export to the northern countries of the continent due to the distances involved.

Vietnam’s Agri-Exports

Fruit and Vegetable Exports from Vietnam to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have increased dramatically, from US$255.1 million in 2019 to $380.3 million in 2021, with Turkey, the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq, Qatar, Morocco, and Algeria serving as the country’s top export destinations.

But according to Nguyn Minh Phng, the exports only make up 2.6% of the region’s total imports in 2021. Fruit and vegetable exports in the first two months of this year totaled $592 million, up 17.8% from the same period in the previous year.

Fruit and vegetable exports are anticipated to increase to $4 billion this year from $3.4 billion last year as more markets are allowing Vietnamese fruits and also due to China reopening its borders, according to Ng Phc Nguyên, general secretary of the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetables Association. After receiving approval to enter China through the official channel, durian shipments alone brought in over $420 million last year, and this year the amount is anticipated to surpass $1 billion, he said.

The largest export to MENA is cashews, which she said increased in value from $167.8 million in 2019 to $260.8 million in 2021 and accounted for 50.2% of the region’s total imports. She further mentioned to further promote exports that, “Vietnam’s cashew products are available in many supermarkets in the UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt, and companies should continue to promote exports to the region.”

Additionally, Vietnam exports to the region; lemon, almond, macadamia, banana, grapefruit, guava, mango, mangosteen, watermelon, lychee, rambutan, plum, carrot, and radish along with their coconut products (mature coconut, copra, and coconut oil). 57.5% of the exports went to China, which continued to be the main market for Vietnam’s exports.

Export Challenges

However, due to the distance, it is difficult to export fresh fruits; as a result, Phung suggested exporting frozen fresh fruits. She also mentioned the challenges faced while exporting to the Middle East and Africa and also the fierce competition from India, Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Philippines, China, the United States, South Africa, and European countries.

According to her, for Vietnamese businesses to be successful, they must be aware of the laws governing labeling in local languages, food hygiene and safety, and pesticide residue requirements in each market. She explained that goods exported to Israel must have Kosher certification while those going to the Middle East, which is home to a sizable Muslim population, require Halal certification. She added that in order to market their goods in the area, they should also participate in the ministry’s trade promotion programs.

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