Last year Vietnam’s earned US$61.223 million from fruit exports to the Japanese market, up 12.03% from the previous year. The figure is expected to reach US$77 million in 2015 and US$135 in five years time.
In recent years, Vietnamese exports to Japan have experienced a two-digit growth, hitting an average increase of more than 27%. Despite impressive export growth, revenue from fruit and vegetable exports remained modest, accounting for only 1% of Japan’s fruit and vegetable import value.
Japan is considered a promising market for Vietnamese fruit exporters as the country imports more than a half of its fruit and vegetable consumption volume (worth US$3.2 billion) annually.
There’s an increasing demand for exotic fruits such as banana, pineapple, pawpaw, mango and avocado on the Japanese market, the MoIT reported, adding that Vietnam possess a huge advantage in producing these tropical fruits.
It’s worth noting that since Japan removed its ban on the import of dragon fruits in November 2009, the export of this farm produce to the Japanese market has enjoyed a sharp increase in both volume and value.
Local fruit exporters are demonstrating a keen interest in shipping fruits to Japan, which they admit, offers more advantages then other foreign importers.
KoshidaRyu, an agricultural expert from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the Japanese market is opening up for a variety of Vietnamese fruits, especially longan, rambutan, and star apple.
He also suggested local exporters should promote marketing programmes in Japan to help educate Japanese consumers about Vietnamese fruits, which are often favoured by Japanese tourists during visits to Vietnam.
Vietnam Customs statistics show that Vietnam’s fruit exports to Japan were valued at US$31.88 million, contributing to 7.26% of Vietnam’s total revenue from fruit and vegetable exports. The figure reached US$54.65 million in 2012, with a 16.78% annual increase.
The sharp rise of Vietnamese fruit exports to Japan was attributed to preferential tariffs offered by the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA).
A number of Vietnamese fruits have secured a firm foothold in Japan, including Hoa Loc mango, Chin Hoa durian, Nam Roi grapefruit, and pomelo from the Mekong Delta.
However, local fruit exporters are facing tough competition from strong rivals like Thailand and China to corner the Japanese market.
Moreover, Japan is a demanding market with high standards and strict regulations on goods quality. This requires Vietnamese exporters to focus on ensuring excellent food hygiene and safety and adhering to strict Japanese regulations.
It is essential to diversify export items, particularly tropical fruits and vegetable such as banana, pineapple, avocado, orange, lemon, pomelo, onion, ginger, carrot and pepper.
Local businesses should also pay more attention to meeting requirements for environmental protection and food hygiene to make further breakthroughs in export growth of the Japanese market in the future.