During the first seven months, vegetable and fruit export growth rate neared 49 percent while import growth rate approximated 103 percent.
Thailand outstripped China to become the largest vegetable and fruit exporter to Vietnam. In the first half this year, the import turnover from Thailand hit $362.2 million, up 2.5 times over the same period last year and accounting for 57 percent of the market share. Import value from China was $107.1 million accounting for 16.8 percent.
They were followed by the US, Australia, Myanmar, New Zealand, India, South Africa, South Korea and Chile.
Besides import through official channel, foreign fruits have been portable to Vietnam by air. These products are usually sold at shops and on the internet with high prices but supply has been short of demand.
According to records by Sai Gon Giai Phong reporters, a kilogram of Australian avocado is priced VND350,000, pomelo VND130,000, mandarin orange VND200,000 and dried grape VND600,000 a kilogram.
Australian red peel banana has the price of VND500,000 a bunch, Canadian yellow cherry VND700,000 a kilogram, Spanish melon VND300,000, Egyptian fresh date palm VND800,000, South African red orange VND150,000 and Peruvian pomegranate VND200,000.
Regularly buying foreign fruits, Ms. Vo Thi Kieu Giang in Go Vap district said that she had been afraid that local products were soaked in chemicals. Other countries have technical barriers to control fruit quality. The price of foreign and local mandarin orange, orange and banana is not different much. Only those uncultivated in Vietnam such as cherry, date palm and some melons are expensive.
A staff of a shop in District 1 said that some fruits must be ordered before a month because they are expensive and quickly rotten such as South Korean strawberry priced VND800,000 a kilogram, Japanese strawberry VND1.5-2 million, Japanese grape VND2 million and Swiss red apple VND1 million.
An unnamed air hostess said that many air hostesses had carried foreign fruits to Vietnam to supply shops. Chinese fruits are also sold in other countries as the country’s climate permits cultivation of many temperate fruits such as grape, apple, kiwi and cherry besides tropical fruits.
Chinese fruits imported to developed nations must ensure safety and quality standards. However, they are usually imported to Vietnam through the border with small volumes, so quality has not been ensured.
Therefore, consumers should be watchful as air hostesses might buy Chinese fruits from markets and mix them with portable fruits for sale. They should require sellers to present purchase invoices. However, it is not an optimal solution as sellers can use one invoice for many times or have other tricks to cheat buyers.
In addition, consumers should have some knowledge of fruits in other countries. For instance, New Zealand kiwi is yellow, green kiwi is only available in China. Australian cherry can be kept within one day while it is a week for Chinese cherry. Australian plum is priced VND400,000 a kilogram, South African plum VND320,000, American VND390,000 and Japanese VND1 million.