Why to enter Vietnamese fruit processing market now ?

The Vietnamese fruit industry has been steadily growing in recent years, however, there remains much place for development by applying new technology in production to enhance added value for processed products, grow the share of sustainable profit, and meet domestic and international demand.

Bibica cake production chain
Workers pack Bibica’s moon cakes at their factory in Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) released at the seminar on Vietnam's fruit processing market and technology on November 21, 2017 in Hanoi, with growth across various segments, Vietnamese fruit production and export value has been continuously growing in recent years: from several hundred million dollars per year to over $1.07 billion in 2013 and reaching $2.458 billion in 2016, the first time exceeding rice exports ($2 billion), and for the first time accounting for more than 80 per cent of total export value.

In the first ten months of 2017, the export value of fruits reached $2.48 billion, an increase of 47.3 per cent over the same period in 2016. Major fruit export products include dragon fruit (about $900 million in 2016), banana, rambutan, longan, litchi, mango, mangosteen, and durian.

Major fruit and vegetable import markets continued to grow in value: from 13 markets importing over $1 million in 2004 to 10 markets over $20 million in 2016. Aside from China, which is the largest market (accounting for 70.8 per cent of total fruit exports), growing volumes have been exported to high-demand markets, such as the US, Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Australia.

However, with the global import value of vegetables and fruits being in excess of $200 billion per year since 2011, Vietnam’s export value is less than 1 per cent of the world market.

In additional, the main exports of Vietnam are fresh fruit, which has lower value and many technical barriers to trade, such as phytosanitary requirements, quick expiration dates, and short fruit life because of limited technology.

“Fruit production and processing in Vietnam is also facing difficulties and challenges due to the small scale of producers and the decentralised production taking place all over the country with little to no linkeages. The quality and productivity of fruit is low, the application of technical equipment is not synchronised, lost harvest is large, the processing technology is not updated, and a far smaller volume of processed food products are exported than fresh fruits. The high cost of transportation (by air) and no brand in the market lead to low added value and low competitiveness of Vietnamese fruit products,” asserted Nguyen Nhu Cuong, deputy director general of the Department of Crop Production at MARD, at the seminar on Vietnam's fruit processing market and technology on November 21, 2017 in Hanoi.

Seminar on Vietnam fruits
Mr. Nguyen Nhu Cuong (left), deputy director general of the Department of Crop Production at MARD

It is necessary to continue promoting the application of science and technology to fruit production in order to increase productivity, yield, and improve quality, which would ensure food safety and reduce postharvest losses. Additionally the development of preservation and deep-processing technology for fruit products would increase production value as well as expand markets, raising export volume and value on traditional and new markets alike.

There are two pieces of high-technology for fruit processing to help enterprises in Vietnam to develop fruit processing lines and access higher added-value market segments. Bertuzzi’s technology helps to increase product quality and output efficiency through the use of specialised machinery and equipment that are suitable for any type of fruit. Hiperbaric applied high pressure processing (HPP) helps to keep the whole nutritive value as well as the taste of pure fruit juice and increase the expiry date of products.

“Vietnam grows the most diversified types of fruit that I know, especially tropical fruits, so we provide you the solutions to optimise the added value for processed fruits products, increase productivity, and expand the export markets of processed food products,” said Hans-Juergen Wichmann, general director of the Business Unit Machinery at Rieckermann Vietnam.

Rieckermann was established in 1892, is a reliable partner for industrial production and processes, as a full-service solution provider along with the whole value chain of industrial production and processes. It offers complete engineering design, from concept to the last detail, supplies single machines, process lines, integrated systems and technical services.

“According to the 2020 target, the total area of orchards in the country will be 910,000 hectares, with a total output of over 9.5 million tonnes of fruit. Through this, the fruit and vegetable export turnover will increase by an average of 20 per cent per year, striving to achieve the export value of over $4.5 billion in 2020, of which fruit will account for more than 80 per cent,” noted Nguyen Quang Huy from the Department of Crop Production at MARD.

By Nguyen Huong (VIR)