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Gorete Pinto-Teixeira, Lilot Fruits:

“60% less passion fruit imported into France this year”

The passion fruit from Vietnam is an exotic fruit that has become a staple on the market stalls. In 2021 however, there have been significant supply difficulties: the volumes imported have decreased by 60% for the French market. Weather, transportation, consumption peaks, lockdowns and new seeds are all factors which Gorete Pinto-Teixeira, sourcing manager at Capexo, analyses during this unprecedented situation.

In Vietnam, passion fruits are becoming scarce
The first difficulty importers are faced with: the decrease in supply. This has been felt since April 2021. Why? The Chinese festival of Qingming, which generated an unusually strong demand, with traders that were less demanding on the product selection than the French market and ready to pay high prices for passion fruit from Vietnam, well-known for its excellent quality. This resulted in a shortage of products for all importers. 

A decision made a few months earlier by the Vietnamese government made the situation even worse, namely the ban on the import of passion fruit seeds from Taiwan, in order to help the development of local seeds and reduce the dependence of the country on imports. But the quality of the Vietnamese seeds is not as good and they give a lower yield compared to their Taiwanese counterparts. This resulted in a reduced number of new passion fruit plantations in 2021. 

Additionally, the weather conditions have been disastrous for the plantations, affected by heavy rains, hurricanes and storms from July to October, which led to a significant loss in volumes and impacted the fruit’s capacity to be preserved over time. 

Covid-19 has a lasting impact on supply
This 2021 campaign for the Vietnamese passion fruit shows that the Covid-19 crisis is far from being over. 

Hô Chi Minh City was under a strict lockdown from July to October 2021, which led to a strong reduction of available labor in the plantations and a restricted access to international transport. An additional difficulty which is being felt very concretely: the volume of imported passion fruit has been reduced by 60% compared to the first months of 2021. 

Besides, the pandemic has also had a lasting impact on transport capacities. Up until recently, only one line provided a fast connection between Vietnam and France. With airfreight reduced to almost nothing, importers end up paying a high price. 

The increase in freight rates is impacting the selling price
The final piece to an already complex situation: during the last 3 months of lockdown in Vietnam, a lot of goods remained stuck in the ports and eventually fell back on air transportation. This resulted in a strong increase in air freight rates (+15%) from March to September 2021 between Vietnam and France. 

The recent increase of 3.5 $/kh is already decisive for the import of passion fruit and will continue to be so in the coming weeks.

For more information:Gorete Pinto-TeixeiraLilot Fruits – 

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