CAN THO – China will send a team to Vietnam this week to conduct inspections of sweet potato growing areas and packaging facilities in preparation for importing the produce into the Chinese market.
Le Van Thiet, deputy director of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Vietnamese partners have registered to export sweet potatoes to China via formal trade channels.
Nguyen Van Liem, deputy director of the Vinh Long Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that China had long been a major buyer of Vietnam’s sweet potatoes via border trade.
Local sweet potato prices have dropped by VND1,500-2,000 a kilogram to VND5,000-6,000, resulting in losses for farmers, Liem said. Sweet potato cultivation areas have shrunk to 750 hectares from 13,000-14,000 hectares.
Liem hoped the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would work with the Chinese side to obtain approval for the formal export of sweet potatoes to China.
Data from the General Administration of Vietnam Customs showed that vegetables and fruits exported to China in the first eight months of this year fell 32.4% year-over-year to US$967 million. As for sweet potatoes, the exports brought in over US$20.6 million.