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Export potential of Vietnamese bananas untapped

by 22 November 2015 Last updated at 16:00 PM

VTV.vn - Currently, banana farming in Vietnam is facing a paradox.

While many small-scale banana plantations are struggling to find markets, banana producers following VietGap standards cannot keep up with surging demands, particularly from foreign markets.

"Each plastic bag costs 1 thousand VND and more labor. Although it’s costly, we must do it to protect the bananas from frost." - Nguyen Van Huan, Worker, Thien Tam Thanh Company, Hung Yen Province.

Farmers in the neighborhood often supply bananas to Thiện Tâm Thành Company. They have been well-trained by the company in farming techniques and are given safe seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. All bananas for export are carefully selected and processed.

"My company has applied VietGap standards since the beginning,. We don’t use unsafe pesticides. 70% of our fertilizers are organic, so our bananas are good quality." - Nguyen Nang Thanh, Director, Thien Tam Thanh Company, Hung Yen Province.

Thiện Tâm Thành Company now receives orders from Japan, South Korea, and Egypt. Each ton of bananas can be sold for 300 USD. Foreign customers even visit the company’s workshop to inspect the production process.

"The Russian market is fond of bananas exported from Vietnam. Each week, Thiện Tâm Thành Company sells 20 tons of bananas to Russia. I’m confident in the quality, as I have seen the production process myself." - Vladimir Andray, Member, Thanh Cong Import - Export Company.

Thiện Tâm Thành Company exports 3,000 tons of bananas per year, and has the potential to increase that figure 3-fold. However, the company still faces difficulties in expanding its production chain. This is also the case for other VietGap banana producers; they do not expand their businesses because bananas are not listed among the primary crops.

"I hope authorities at all levels will consider bananas one of the main export crops. Farming and preserving techniques should also be introduced to farmers." - Nguyen Thi Nga, Director, Hoang Lam Group, Lao Cai Province.

Experts say that Vietnam’s banana productivity is low, as farming and processing techniques do not meet food safety standards. In order to boost banana exports, VietGap standards must be strictly enforced.

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