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Pepper prices rise despite drop in exports   2010-03-31 - Viet Nam News

Viet Nam exported 23,000 tonnes of pepper worth nearly US$66 million in the first quarter of this year.

Though the volume declined 14.55 per cent year-on-year, earnings were 1.54 per cent higher due to higher global prices of the spice, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Though the pepper industry had achieved high growth rates in recent years, the sector should do more to grow in a sustainable manner.

The average export price this year has been $3,111 a tonne, 22.1 per cent higher than in the first quarter of last year. The price is expected to increase further this year due to a global supply shortfall.

The ministry said the recent unfavourable weather had caused a decline in pepper output and delayed harvests until mid-February.

Viet Nam has been the world's largest pepper producer and exporter since 2001, with Germany, India and the US being the biggest buyers.

Last year it exported a record 135,000 tonnes for $347 million, an increase of 49 per cent in volume and 11.46 per cent in value over 2008, according to the Viet Nam Pepper Association.

Though the pepper industry had achieved high growth rates in recent years, the sector should do more to grow in a sustainable manner, MARD said.

It urged pepper farmers and exporters to adopt measures to raise quality, expand export markets, increase exports of high-quality varieties, step up trade promotion, and improve demand forecast.

Building trademarks for the country's pepper products was also a vital step in developing further, MARD said.

Viet Nam has only developed the Chu Se trademark for pepper grown in the district of the same name in Gia Lai Province. Chu Se pepper is priced higher than those grown in other regions.

The ministry plans to maintain the area under pepper at 50,000ha and an annual production at 100,000 tonnes, with the association saying the output is expected to reach that number this year. In the domestic market, pepper prices have gone up to VND40,000-49,000 a kilogramme, nearly double the rate 12 months ago.



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