Vietnam expects pepper to remain a key foreign currency earner for the country in 2017, with targeted export turnover of 1.6 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade on Wednesday.
With a forecast year-on-year export growth of 13 percent, pepper is hoped to be among the 13 commodities earning shipment revenue of more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, the state-run news agency VNA quoted the ministry as saying.
In 2016, Vietnam shipped abroad 177,000 tons of pepper worth 1.42 billion U.S. dollars, rising by 34.3 percent in volume and 12.9 percent in value.
The markets with the strongest surges in pepper imports from Vietnam were Pakistan (up 3.14 times year-on-year), the Philippines (3 times), the United States (31.3 percent), Egypt (23.2 percent), Spain (14 percent), and India (12 percent).
In January 2017, a total of 8,000 tons of pepper were exported, raking in 56 million U.S. dollars, down 18 percent in volume and 37 percent in value year-on-year.
Many insiders attributed the fall to the Lunar New Year holiday, which made importers step up purchases at the end of 2016 and eased activities in January.
This year, the Lunar New Year holiday in Vietnam started on Jan. 26 and ended on Feb. 1.
According to Vietnam Pepper Association, the country's pepper output will hike at least 15 percent year-on-year to hit about 180,000 tons in 2017.
Vietnam's current cultivation areas are expanding by 15-20 percent from the previous year, due to higher pepper prices, said the association.