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Vietnam’s Dragon Fruit Exports Down Almost 50% in Early 2023

April 17, 2023

According to data from Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, exports of Vietnamese dragon fruit reached $47 million in the first two months of 2023, representing a year-on-year decrease of 48.7%.

Vietnamese dragon fruit are exported to over 40 countries and regions, with China, India, the United States, Thailand, the Netherlands and Japan being the major overseas markets. In the first two months of this year, Vietnam’s dragon fruit exports to Korea and Japan fell significantly, contracting by 25.9% and 35.4%, respectively, compared with the previous year.

However, despite a tough start to the year, China’s relaxed epidemic prevention and control measures can be regarded as good news for Vietnam’s dragon fruit industry. China is the largest importer of Vietnamese dragon fruit and generally accounts for 60–70% of Vietnam’s exports of the fruit each year. Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimates that the total value of the country’s dragon fruit exports will exceed $1 billion in 2023.

As many of Vietnam’s key agricultural items have experienced lower exports, the sector’s dependence on the Chinese market is becoming even more pronounced. Vietnamese government data indicate that Vietnam’s produce exports stood at $564.95 million in the first two months of 2023, corresponding to year-on-year growth of 12.4%. During this period, exports to China reached $320.5 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 25.3% and accounting for 56.7% of Vietnam’s total produce exports.

Meanwhile, the scale of dragon fruit cultivation in China has been rising rapidly in recent years. In 2021, the planting area reached 67,000 hectares nationwide, with an annual output of 1.6 million metric tons, thus making China replace Vietnam as the world’s largest dragon fruit producer. As China’s domestic production picks up, imports from Vietnam have inevitably been displaying a downward trend. Indeed, Vietnamese dragon fruit exports to China totaled $1.25 billion in 2019 before dropping to $1.12 billion and $998 million in 2020 and 2021, respectively. In 2022, the value further plummeted to $632.6 million. However, part of this decrease is undoubtedly attributable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even so, members of the Vietnamese fruit industry still have high hopes for the Chinese market. According to Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, Vietnamese dragon fruit have so far been preferred by Chinese consumers owing to their superior appearance, while China’s domestic production remains insufficient at present to fully meet market demand. Consequently, Vietnam’s dragon fruit exports to China are expected to stay high for at least the next few years.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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