Africa and the Middle East offer opportunities for Vietnam to boost exports of farm produce with their large demand, especially for fruits and vegetables, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Nguyễn Minh Phương of the ministry’s Asia-Africa Market Department said the per capita income in the Middle East is relative high.
Countries in the region mainly focus on industry, and import large volumes of agricultural products, she said. “The Middle East has very high demand for fruits and vegetables.” Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports to the region have shot up in recent years, rising from US$44.8 million in 2015 to $96.9 million in 2018, but remain very low as a ratio of total imports, she added.
“The Middle East attracts a large number of Asian workers, and so demand for tropical fruits and vegetables will further increase. Fruit and vegetable exports are expected to grow further in the coming years.”
Africa too has huge demand for agricultural products, mainly rice, seafood, fruits and vegetables, but because of the distance, it is not easy for Vietnamese firms to export fresh fruits to this market (though they can sell canned fruit juices and sugar coated fruits).
Vietnam has exported fruits and vegetables to 46 out of 70 countries in Africa and the Middle East, with the main markets being the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and South Africa, she said. Vietnamese firms should focus on exporting watermelon, passion fruit, mango, longan, rambutan, and dragon fruit besides juices to the UAE, she said.