Rising prices to boost pepper industry

Published: 02/05/2011 05:00


Vietnam was well poised as the world’s largest pepper exporter to take advantage of steadily rising demand for the spice in the coming years, experts said.

Vietnam was well poised as the world’s largest pepper exporter to take advantage of steadily rising demand for the spice in the coming years, experts said.

World demand for pepper was expected to rise by about 5 per cent per year in the coming years, they said.

However, they also cautioned that poor cultivation practices including overexploitation could undermine growth in the long run.

Addressing the conference held by the Viet Nam Pepper Association to review its 2008-10 performance and set tasks for 2011-14, chairman Do Ha Nam said the country’s total pepper output this year would be about 100,000-110,000 tonnes, the same as last year.

In the first quarter, the country exported 25,128 tonnes of pepper, earning US$123 million, a reduction of 11 per cent in volume but an increase of 44 per cent in value over the same period last year, Nam said.

In April, about 12,000 tonnes of pepper was exported, he added. Given a national average consumption of 5,000 tonnes and border trade of equal amount, a little more than 50,000 tonnes could be exported in the remaining months of the year, he said.

According to the International Pepper Community, world pepper output this year will fall by about 6,500 tonnes against 2010 to 310,000 tonnes due to unfavourable weather conditions and pests in several producing countries.

Nam noted that despite economic difficulties, demand for the spice in the world market had been very stable. China and India had high demand for pepper, importing large volumes every year since their domestic production could not meet local demand, he said.

With high demand and limited supply, pepper prices increased strongly in the past few months, he said.

Average pepper prices on the world market in the first quarter increased by 159 per cent to $4,456 per tonne for black pepper and by 176 per cent to $6,954 per tonne for white pepper against the same period last year.

The prices were expected to rise further in the coming time, Nam said.

Long-term threats

“Although the pepper industry has flourished in recent years, there are many challenges that lie ahead,” Nam said.

He said many farmers were aware of the importance of adopting organic farming methods to develop their farms in a sustainable manner, but there were many others who still exploited their farms excessively.

Overexploitation led to lower yields and quality in the future, he warned.

In addition, impacts of climate change, the use of poor seedlings as well as improper planting techniques have created opportunities for new diseases that were attacking the vines, exposing farmers to high risks, he said.

He called on enterprises to invest more in upgrading processing technologies to add more value to Vietnamese pepper and step up trade promotion activities.

The association suggested that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development support the sector in developing quality seedlings and training human resources.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong advised the association to work with relevant agencies to make plan for sustainable development of the pepper industry.

He also urged the sector to focus more on building a brand identity for the nation’s pepper products and forge close co-operation between enterprises and farmers.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien said the association should cooperate with relevant agencies to set up quality standards that enterprises can apply in processing and export to raise the quality and value of Vietnamese pepper.

Viet Nam last year exported 116,861 tonnes of pepper, earning $419 million, a year-on-year reduction of 13.3 per cent in volume but an increase of 20.5 per cent in value.

Vietnamese pepper products are currently exported to 80 countries and territories, the association said, with the EU being the country’s largest buyer.

Viet Nam has 50,000ha under pepper cultivation at present, mainly in six provinces – Binh Phuoc, Gia Lai, Dak Nong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dak Lak.

Source: VNS

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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