Vietnam Eyes Expansion in US and Chinese Coconut Markets

Ben Tre, Vietnam: Vietnamese coconut growers and businesses are poised for expansion, following recent developments that have opened up significant export opportunities in the United States and China. The U.S. officially began importing fresh Vietnamese coconuts in August, and China is currently considering similar authorization.

According to Vietnam News Agency, Director of Mekong Fruit Export Ltd.Co in Chau Thanh district, the U.S. is the world's second-largest coconut importer, trailing only China. Vietnam currently exports between 110 and 120 containers of fresh coconuts to the U.S. annually, suggesting considerable growth potential in this market. Meanwhile, the General Administration of Customs of China is conducting inspections of Vietnamese cultivation areas, which could lead to the opening of a vast Chinese market with over a billion consumers.

In anticipation of these opportunities, Mekong Fruit Export Ltd.Co plans to collaborate with coconut farmers in Ben Tre province to establish a 100-hectare area for organic coconut production. Vo Van Hai, Chairman of the Luong Hoa commune Farmers' Association in Giong Trom district, highlighted the productivity of the region, where an average coconut tree yields 140 to 150 coconuts annually. This level of productivity enables farmers to earn up to 100 million VND (approximately 4,200 USD) per hectare each year.

Ben Tre is renowned as Vietnam's coconut capital, accounting for about 40% of the country's total coconut cultivation and 46% of that in the Mekong Delta region. Huynh Quang Duc, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, reported that Ben Tre has over 78,000 hectares of coconut farms, producing more than 800 million coconuts annually. Nearly 16,000 hectares are dedicated to producing coconut water, yielding about 390 million coconuts per year, with approximately half meeting export standards.

Currently, five enterprises in Ben Tre export fresh coconuts to countries like Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, and Canada. Additionally, about 20 companies are registered to export to the Chinese market, awaiting the finalization of China's import regulations.

The province's coconut products also benefit from geographical indications, which provide a competitive edge in market expansion. This legal recognition ensures the quality and origin of the coconuts, further enhancing their appeal in international markets.