HANOI, April 24 (Reuters) - Vietnam plans to slash its black pepper growing area by 26.7 percent in response to falling global prices, the chairman of the country’s pepper association said Tuesday.
Vietnam is the world’s largest black pepper exporter, accounting for 60-65 percent of global trade, and nearly half of global output.
“We will cut the area to 110,000 hectares from 150,000 hectares over the coming years by encouraging local farmers to grow other crops and remove pepper farms with poor quality,” said Vietnam Pepper Association Chairman Nguyen Nam Hai.
Hai said the surge in world pepper prices in the 2013-2015 period led local growers to expand their farms uncontrollably, from 50,000 hectares in 2013 to the current of 150,000 hectares.
“Now with the increased output, prices have fallen and we need to cut the area,” Hai said.
Vietnam’s black pepper exports in the first quarter rose 17.5 percent from a year earlier to 60,033 tonnes, but export revenue in the period fell 31.4 percent to $221 million, according to official customs data.
Hai said exports for the entire 2018 are forecast to stay flat from last year at around 215,000 tonnes.
Vietnam’s key markets for the spices include the United States, India, China and Europe. (Editing by James Pearson/David Evans)