Vietnam aims for new record with fruit and vegetable export

In 2024, Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable sector expects to set a new export record of 6.5 billion USD, with export markets forecast to continue witnessing favourable conditions in the second half of the year.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable export revenue reached 2.59 billion USD in the first five months of 2024, up 28.1% over the same period last year. Strong-performing exports included durian, dragon fruit, banana, jackfruit and chili pepper.

Growth in cultivation areas, output and revenue

Vietnam’s total fruit farming area in 2024 is estimated at 1.29 million hectares, up about 20,000 hectares from the previous year, said Nguyen Nhu Cuong, Director of the Department of Crop Production under the MARD. The total fruit output in 2024 is expected to reach 13.5 million tonnes, up 3.4% from last year.

The farming area in 2024 increased substantially to 1.03 million hectares, up 30,000 hectares from 2023, while output is also expected to rise by 624,000 tonnes, to 19.7 million tonnes.


Processing pineapples for export in Ninh Binh Province. (Photo: Duc Anh)

According to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, the turnover of some fruits in the first quarter of 2024 posted strong rises compared with 2023. Durian exports rose by 63.3% to 251.94 million USD, dragon fruit by 4.9% to 171.85 million USD, banana by 25.6% to 142.37 million USD, jackfruit by 46.1% to 81.15 million USD, mango by 46.7% to 76.5 million USD and water melon by 65.7% to 56.42 million USD. Triple-digit growth was seen in several fruits, such as coconut, longan, macadamia and almond, whose exports jumped by 112.6%, 159.9%, 113,9% and 274.4% respectively.

The main export markets for Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Netherlands and Australia. In the Chinese market, Vietnam has surpassed Thailand and the Philippines, as the largest supplier of durians and bananas.

According to Nguyen Quang Hieu, Deputy Director of the Department of Plant Protection, the department has completed documents for a protocol for exporting frozen durians to China. Once the protocol is signed, durian export turnover to China will certainly grow even more strongly.

Nguyen Dinh Muoi, Deputy General Director of Vina T&T Import-Export Trading Service Company, said the company has many opportunities to boost its fruit exports in 2024 thanks to both increased production and market expansion. The US and Europe are Vina T&T’s main export markets. The company also exports fruits to Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Vina T&T currently exports frozen durians to the US market and lychees to Thailand.

Favourable market conditions

According to the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports will continue growing in the coming time, thanks to high domestic yields and strong demand from established and new markets.

In China, Vietnam’s largest fruit and vegetable export market, the share of Vietnamese fruit and vegetables increased from 7.9% in 2022 to 13.99% in 2023. In the first quarter of 2024, the value of Chinese fruit and vegetable imports reached 6.6 billion USD, up 5.85% from 2023, of which Vietnam accounted for 9.4%.

In the future, Vietnamese enterprises must pay attention to China’s new consumption trends for fruit and vegetables to increase their exports. For example, consumer demand for processed durian products is rising, since fresh durians are not affordable to many due to high prices, while processed products have more reasonable prices.

In addition to the Chinese market, the first months of 2024 also witnessed new developments in Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand, despite the country being the world’s leading agricultural exporter and having many similar products to Vietnam’s.

According to Vietnam’s trade counsellor in Thailand, Le Huu Phuc, currently Thailand is Vietnam’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand in the first four months of 2024 reached nearly 60 million USD, an increase of 95% over the same period in 2023. Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to Thailand are currently higher than Vietnam’s total fruit and vegetable exports to all remaining ASEAN countries.

In the first four months of 2024, Thailand also imported large quantities of Vietnamese durian and became the second-largest importer, after China. Specifically, Thailand imported 22.5 million USD worth of durian from Vietnam, an increase of 82% over the same period in 2023. The reason is crop failure in Thailand due to unusually hot weather.

Outside Asia, the demand for imported fruits and vegetables in new markets also increased. According to statistics from the International Trade Centre (ITC), in 2023, the UK’s fruit and vegetable imports hit 17.9 billion USD, up 5.9% compared to 2022.

The UK market with nearly 68 million people, high income, diverse needs and an Asian community of more than 5.5 million people are favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to promote fruit and vegetable exports.

Regarding the EU market, the Vietnamese agricultural counsellor in Belgium and the EU, Tran Van Cong, said every year, the EU imports about 101.9 billion USD worth of fruit and vegetables, accounting for nearly 40% of the global import turnover, of which vegetable imports are 36.4 billion USD and fruit imports are 65.5 billion USD.

The EU imported about 35 billion USD of fruits and vegetables from countries outside the bloc in 2023, of which imports from Vietnam were 228 million USD. This is a huge market for the Vietnamese fruit and vegetable industry to tap into in the near future.