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VN holds onto its pepper crown   2008-11-28 - VNS

 Viet Nam will remain the world’s leading pepper exporter with a more than 50 per cent share of the global market despite a drop in output against last year, according to the Viet Nam Pepper Association.

Unfavorable weather and diseases led to an output fall of 10-15 per cent in other major exporting nations, such as India and Brazil too, the association said.

Viet Nam expects to earn US$290 million from exporting 80,000 tonnes this year.

Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia soon plan to launch a joint project to improve production, quality, processing, and promotion of pepper.

Viet Nam has 10 pepper processing plants measuring up to standards set by the American Spice Trade Association and the European Spice Association.

But most Vietnamese pepper producers fail to develop their brand to add value to their produce, Do Ha Nam, the VPA chairman, admitted.

Of the six main pepper-growing areas in the country - Binh Phuoc, Gia Lai, Dac Nong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and Dac Lac Provinces, only Gia Lai has managed to establish a trademark, the Chu Se [Black] brand of pepper grown in Chu Se District, Nam said.

The association said Vietnamese pepper could fetch up to $5,000 per tonne instead of the current average price of $3,500 if the country works on its trademark.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has told the industry not to increase the area under pepper from the current 50,000 ha and maintain an annual output of around 100,000 tonnes.

But farmers must adopt good agricultural techniques and processors and exporters must follow Good Agricultural Practice, or GAP, standards to ensure the best quality, it said.

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