According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country’s total fruit and vegetable exports hit a record high of more than US$3.1 billion this year, a year-on-year rise of 43% with the key markets being China, Japan, the US, and the Republic of Korea, which are among 86 countries importing Vietnamese fruit. The value of fruit exports has seen a rise of more than 120% per year yet the amount imported remains unfavourably high. This year, Vietnam has spent more than US$1 billion importing foreign fruit and vegetables. According to Nguyen Hong Son, head of the Plantation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the fruit and vegetable sector should make greater efforts to reduce imports and stimulate exports in the future as Vietnam still has to import some kinds of fruit from Thailand, China, the US, Australia, and South Africa. While export growth is always higher than import growth, the rate of fruit imports is showing a steady increase, Mr Son says.