Vietnamese spend big money on imported fruit
VietNamNet Bridge - While foreigners are enchanted by Vietnam’s tropical fruits, Vietnamese are spending trillions of dong to buy imported fruit, with import turnover increasing steadily in recent years.

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In January 2017, Vietnam imported $110 million worth of fruit, a sharp increase of 55 percent compared with the same period last year. The country not only imports temperate fruits which cannot be grown domestically, but also popular tropical ones such as dragon fruit and custard-apple.  

A kilo of domestically grown custard-apple is priced at VND40,000-60,000 only. However, Vietnamese pay VND500,000 for every kilo of Taiwanese products. 

Vietnam imports thanh long (dragon fruit) from Malaysia, though farmers sometimes have to throw the fruit away in peak harvesting season. While a kilo of Vietnam’s thanh long is sold for VND20,000-55,000 per kilo, a kilo of imports from Malaysia is priced at VND700,000. 

At supermarkets, one can find tens of types of fruits, imported from different sources, including France, South Africa, New Zealand and the US. Orange, apple, pear and grape are the most favored by Vietnam.

Nguyen Van Thanh, chair of An Phu APP, commented that Vietnamese tend to buy fruits which cannot be grown in Vietnam, such as kiwi and apple. They also choose imports because they think imports are safe to health as foreign farmers have to follow strict requirements on quality control.

While foreigners are enchanted by Vietnam’s tropical fruits, Vietnamese are spending trillions of dong to buy imported fruit, with import turnover increasing steadily in recent years.

Meanwhile, though Malaysia’s dragon fruit is 20 times more expensive than Vietnam’s, Thanh doesn’t think it has quality higher than Vietnam’s. 

A report of the General Department of Customs (GDC) showed that in the first six months of 2016, Vietnam imported $351 million, an increase of 40 percent compared with the same period of two years before, and a two-fold increase compared with 2013. The figures show a steady year-after-year import turnover.

While Vietnamese favor fruit imports, Vietnam’s fruits are attractive to foreigners, including Thais, who are also big fruit exporters.

Vietnam’s litchi, sweet tomato, dragon fruit and pomelo, displayed at Vietnam Week, an event held at the Central Shopping Mall in Bangkok in July 2016, caught the special attention from the public.

Eric Prieur from United Technologies, a US-based large financial corporation, said Vietnam’s fruits are diverse and delicious. He said when he introduced Vietnam’s fruits to his friends, the friends showed their interest and asked how to buy them and how to track the origin of the fruits. 

Kato Ryoji from OTA Market, Japan, commented that importers not only pay attention to the quality and price, but also to the origin of products. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s fruits are exported on a small scale and the origin is unclear. 


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Vu Ha

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