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Good returns for Vietnam pepper

Vietnam’s pepper exports were hot last year with a turnover $950 million for 260,000 tonnes.

Although the actual volume decreased by nine per cent, the high prices received saw a 44 per cent rise in value year on year.

However, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) warned the outlook for this year was unpredictable.

Last year’s good returns will have been a relief for the sector, which has seen four years of struggle due to oversupply and poor prices.

According to the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA), the average export price of pepper was $4,000 per tonne in the past 12 months.

The poor prices of recent years saw many farmers turn to other crops, with pepper production down a quarter in 2021 compared to the previous year.

Despite the upturn, the area of land dedicated to pepper growing is expected to decrease further this year. Vietnam’s main competition in the sector are the likes of Brazil and Indonesia.

The Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement, which took effect from August 2020, has resulted in pepper exports to Germany, the Netherlands, France and Spain growing.

There is currently a drive within Vietnam, supported by both the government and trade bodies, to raise the standard of pepper growing while increasing its organic output.

The use of pesticides banned in some of the export target countries, together with chemical residues, is hindering some producers from reaching export standards.

Last year Vietnam exported pepper to more than 110 countries, with the US and China its biggest markets.

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