Vietnam's pepper exports surged during the first quarter of the year, accounting for more than 60 per cent of the global total, according to the International Pepper Community (IPC).
The country exported 26,574 tons during the first three months of the year, with almost 19,000 tons in March alone, a year on year increase of 42 per cent.
Other major producing countries such as India also saw an increase in exports but sales from Brazil and Indonesia fell during the period, said a report by the trade association.
Vietnamese pepper prices have also increased, said the organization, getting $1,205 per ton FOB in March 2006 compared with $1,170 a year earlier. This was still $200-250 per ton cheaper than Malaysian, Indonesian, and Indian products of the same quality.
The Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA) told Than Nien News that Indian companies earned large profits importing Vietnamese pepper for reprocessing and sale on the world market.
It also warned that Vietnamese pepper output is forecast to decrease in 2006 due to drought although supply will remain high because the area under pepper cultivation has expanded.
Yield may drop to 2.1 tons per hectare in 2006 from 2.3 tons due to the bad weather but it is still 300kg per hectare higher than in India. Vietnam now boasts over 52,530 hectares of pepper, mostly in the southeastern region and the Central Highlands.