Vietnam’s Fresh Fruit Imports are on the Rise

Published Jul 15, 2022
Vietnam is one of the fastest growing producers of fruits in Asia, producing most of the exotic summer fruits popular across the world. However, Vietnam’s fruit production in 2022 has been disrupted, which has resulted in lower fruit exports and higher fruit imports. Many fruits from the United States, China, Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, India, and Laos could be found on the shelves in Vietnam. These were priced quite competitively, even with the local varieties available in the market; some of the imported fruits even appeared to be fresher than their Vietnamese counterparts. Overall, this increased supply of fruit has resulted in market prices being pushed down by at least 10%–15%. This is despite demand for fruits remaining steady, due to the limited purchasing power of Vietnamese consumers.

Based on the estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam's key fruit trees in 2022 are estimated to be at over 7.3 million mt, which is slightly less than the 2021 output. The output for the first 6 months of the year is estimated to be at 3.3 million mt, while that of the last 6 months (July-December) is estimated to be at 4.1 million mt. Despite lower aggregate production, some provinces have shown high output of exotic and popular fruits like dragon fruit, pomelos, jackfruit, and passion fruit. According to Vietnam’s Center for Informatics and Statistics, the export value of fruits up to May 2022 was around USD 1.47 billion, which is a YoY decline of 13.6% compared to the same period in 2021. A sharp increase in fruit exports to Russia was observed, with the value of exports falling by almost 40%. In addition to the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and widespread logistics bottlenecks, lower fruit production – especially in the first half of the year – was a major reason for lowered export values and volume in Vietnam.

A survey conducted by VnExpress also shows that the amount of imported fruit in Vietnamese markets, supermarkets, and stores has increased sharply in the past few months. Currently, Vietnamese grocery stores display fruits from the United States, China, Thailand, and Australia. Besides fruits from the above countries, fruits from Cambodia, India, and Laos were also seen in the market. Acacia mango and Cambodian durian are particularly attractive to Vietnamese consumers due to their high quality. These imported fruits are also priced competitively, being offered at much lower prices compared to the same period last year. Despite the high cost of transportation and logistics, the prices of imported fruits into Vietnam were quite mild and even comparable to those of local fruits.

In the first 5 months of the year, Vietnamese fruit imports from China, New Zealand, Cambodia, South Africa, and South Korea all increased at 3-digit rates. The South African market alone has a growth rate of nearly 190%.With fruit imports creating a market glut, locally-produced summer fruits such as mangosteen, durian, jackfruit, lychee, and avocado have been forced to lower their prices to attract customers. The prices for these domestically grown fruits were reduced by 10%-15% compared to the same period in 2021. The outlook for the Vietnamese fruit market remains uncertain as the country fails to strike a balance between the demand for and supply of fruits. Imports of fruits have depressed market prices, and with limited purchasing power, there is a limit to how much fruit Vietnamese consumers can purchase. 

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