The industry has supplied highly competitive products to both domestic and foreign markets, while export turnover for processed and agricultural products totalled more than 40 billion USD last year, according to the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Vietnamese products have also reached multiple technical standards and are present in many countries, including the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the EU.
Last year alone, food and beverage consumption increased by 18 percent, the agency said, adding that the value accounted for 15 percent of the country's GDP and would go up in the coming time.
Abundant raw materials, stable and high economic growth, a favourable investment environment, and good infrastructure at industrial parks are factors that have helped attract investors in the sector.
In addition, free trade agreements have opened up opportunities for domestic food firms to enhance exports and attract more foreign investors in the sector.
For foreign investors, the abundance of agricultural products and foodstuff in the country is an advantage. Vietnam is considered one of the top five food baskets in the world and one of the top 15 largest countries by agriculture exports.
But to capitalise on the opportunity, local firms need to invest more in deep processing to add more value to the products.
They also need to improve their production technologies, apply good manufacturing practices and develop close linkages with multinational food processing groups in Vietnam to participate in the global food supply chain, said Tran Kim Oanh, Director of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
To be competitive, local investors have poured 11 trillion VND (about 500 million USD) into 17 fruit, vegetable and meats processing factories such as the 15ha fruit processing plant in Tay Ninh province invested by Lavifood Joint Stock Company costing 1.78 trillion VND (76.7 million USD).
It is the first factory in Vietnam with a Leed Silver certificate and one of the five most modern fruit and vegetable processing plants in the Asia-Pacific region.
The plant will produce frozen fruits, juices, dried fruits, soft-dried fruits, and fruit juice concentrates for export to the US, the EU, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Australia.
With a capacity of 60,000 tonnes of finished products a year, the plant will process all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
To attract investment and develop the food processing sector in a sustainable manner, Vietnam needs to create a zoning plan for high-quality material area and meet food safety standards of the global food supply chain, experts say.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam is among the world's largest exporters of rice, coffee, pepper and cashew nuts.
Vietnam has 5,500 food and drink manufacturing enterprises, with 2,000 of them located in HCM City.
Exports of farm produce, especially fruits and vegetables, have seen good growth over recent years, with products exported to more than 100 countries and territories.
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