In the side-streets of Hà Nội and Sài Gòn (HCMC), the markets are open every day. Vietnamese cuisine relies on many vegetables, seafood, and herbs that need to be eaten fresh, the same day on which they were picked and caught.
Women of the city hurry to the market every morning to do the day’s shopping. The carrots, potatoes, salad greens, radishes, cabbages, cauliflower, beetroots, tomatoes, and strawberries that are typical of temperate climates are grown at high altitudes likely in Đà Lạt region and brought in daily. The stalls also trade in more exotic vegetables, such as water grass, lotus stems, bamboo shoots, beansprouts, a variety of sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, and many more.
Production of fruit and vegetables in Vietnam has increased steadily over the years, with a continually increasing land area for cultivation and production. Thanks to its effort in expanding the fruit and vegetable production capacity, Vietnam has become a country with a surplus of fruit and vegetables. Moreover, the import and export turnover of Vietnamese fresh produce has shown rapid growth. In 2019, the export turnover of this commodity was 2.1 times the import turnover.
With rising income, Vietnamese consumers are increasingly concerned with the quality of their food and tend to use pesticide-free and organic vegetables. Fruits imported from the US, Australia, and New Zealand are very popular in Vietnam, although they are not cheap.
A great amount of fresh produce from Vietnam enters China through small-scale cross-border trade. The amount of fruit and vegetables that have entered China through normal trade and cross-border trade. The advantages of cross-border trade include transaction flexibility, faster transportation, and lower taxes. Trade stability, however, is compromised by changes in trade policy and inconsistencies in the quality of goods. In order to promote fruit exports through normal channels of trade, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade released a guide for exporting Vietnamese fruit to China, which provides specific business guidance for the trade of dragon fruit, longan, lychee, and watermelon. The guide introduces all issues related to the Chinese market—such as export formalities, doing business, relevant information, obstacles, and more—to facilitate sustainable exports of fruit to China and establish a brand status for Vietnamese fruits in the Chinese market.
Although exports of fruits and vegetables to China are growing rapidly, there will be some new challenges as China adopts stricter requirements for fruit and vegetable imports. For instance, Vietnamese fruit exports to China had to include a picture of product quality traceability that originates from the packaging stage.