Last update: 19:32 | 17/02/2017
Vietnamese consumers are favouring more imported fruits as spending last year reached over USD700m, that has put more pressure on the local businesses.
Imported fruits sold at a Vietnamese supermarket.
The import turnover in the first month of 2017 reached over USD110m, an increase of 55% compared to same period last year. Vietnam is importing a large number of fruits from dozens of countries including Chile, New Zealand and Australia.
Nguyen Van Thanh, chairman of An Phu APP Company, said, "Fruits is one of the top imported produce, especially during the Tet Holiday and are used as gifts. Consumers often select fruits that are not grown in Vietnam such as the kiwi. In addition, it's also a way to show off their wealth."
Thailand has overtaken China in recent years to become Vietnam's leading fruit provider. Thailand exported USD218.8m worth of fruits into Vietnam in the first eight months of 2016, followed by China with USD125.2m. The number of imported fruits from the US, Australia, India and South Korea is increasing while Chile, Myanmar and South Africa are losing out to competition.
Meanwhile, consumers are struggling to find quality home-grown fruits in local market. Hoa Hung Commune in Tien Giang Province was famous for their mangoes. But now the mangoes sold in the supermarkets or other markets have expensive prices but they haven't ripened yet or don't have the special sweet taste anymore.
Some customers said many local fruits had lost their quality while being sold at high prices. Traders always select good fruits for export and the remainder is sold in the local markets. Local farmers are also being criticised for pesticide abuse.
Clean produces are sold at higher prices but consumers have already lost faith in the local produce and have no way to check if they are really clean.
Nguyen Tien Hung, director of BigGreen Vietnam Company also said unhygienic food was badly affecting good companies. Local firms are reluctant to register for label of origin or trademark because of high fees. High land rental fee is another challenge.
Nguyen Van Chi, director of Hanoi Trade Promotion Centre for Agriculture, said one of the difficulties was the lack of policies for chain supply and promotion for clean produces. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development hasn't had any supporting policies to help connect businesses and localities.