May 25, 2009

China raises quality barrier, farm produce exporters nervous

CASSAVA NEWS. Follow up Thanh Nien Daily - Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam. Vietnamese agricultural exports are beginning to be affected after China erected new technical rubber company, who wished to be unnamed, said the volume of latex exported to China over the border has fallen since China started tightening control. The Information Center for Agriculture and Rural Development said latex exports to China could fall by 2 percent this year because of this. Vietnamese cassava exported to China too faces more stringent safety conditions.

From July 1 fresh fruits like watermelon, longan, lychee, banana and dragon fruit can only be exported to China if they are harvested and packed by registered orchards and packaging factories.

China is the biggest market for Vietnam’s agricultural exports, last year importing produce worth US$1.9 billion, mainly latex, cashew, cassava, coffee, fruits and vegetables.

Exporters feared the toughening of standards would hurt them since they are still dependent on the neighboring market. Prices of many products would drop and stockpiles would grow if China reduced imports, they said.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, acting president of the Vietnam Cashew Association, said China buys around 22 percent of the cashew Vietnam exports, but warned exporters not to depend too much on this market since its policies are constantly changing.

Instead, cashew exporters need to increase their shipments to other markets like the Middle East, the EU and Russia, he suggested.

Vo Mai, a vegetable exporter, said it is important for exporters to scout for new markets, but at the same time farmers should learn more about market demand before they start planting.

For instance, they need to know that their Chinese counterparts can grow watermelon easily now, leading to lower demand for imports, she said, pointing out that thousands of tons of the fruit rotted at the border last March.

Trade between Vietnam and China topped $20 billion last year and the figure is expected to grow to $25 billion in 2010, Vietnam News Agency reported, citing the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Source: SGTT

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