The world’s statistics showed that the pepper plantation of Vietnam at the time of 50 years ago was 300 hectares and was 426 hectares only in 20 years later, so the country’s pepper area proportion in the world stood still at 0.2%.
Apart from top agricultural export items of rice and cashew, pepper was the leading commodity of Vietnam to go into the global market.
However, in 1981, the country’s pepper plantation area reached 900 hectares and the proportion was raised to 0.4%, which were 2,176 hectares and 1% before the doi moi period (renovation-1986 when first 100 tons of pepper “made in Vietnam” were offered to the world market).
The pepper plantation increased to 3,900 hectares in 1985 and Vietnam’s pepper plantation proportion in the world gained 1.5%. In that year, the pepper export reached 1,300 tons, accounting for 0.9% of the world’s export and those were 3,133 tons and 1.8% in the following year.
In 2008, the world had 39 countries and territories planting pepper tree, of which those with plantation area of more than 1,000 hectares were 22 or those with more than 10,000 hectares were only 7. With 197,300 hectares, India accounted for 39%, Indonesia 117,500 hectares (23.2%) and Vietnam 50,000 hectares (9.2%). The top three pepper growers along with Sri Lanka and Brazil held a compound ratio of 84.7% of the world’s pepper area.
Notably, Vietnam’s pepper productivity was the highest, at 1,966 kg per hectare, 2.4 times higher than the world’s average level. Meanwhile, that of Indonesia in the last decade was decreasing to 82.7% in 2008. Even the productivity of India, which was too low, continuously increased or declined suddenly around 29-49% compared to the average productivity.
Therefore, Vietnam surpassed Brazil to become the third largest pepper producer in the global market in 1997, and placed India behind to gain the second largest position in 2002 and became the top against Indonesia in 2007.
But, regarding price, Vietnam exported pepper at “low price” during the last three decades, excepting 2007, 2008 and 2000 when its pepper price was equal to around 80% of the world’s level. Especially between 1993 and 1996, Vietnamese pepper price was lower a half of global average.
All aforementioned background showed that Vietnam became a giant in both production and export of pepper in very long time but that giant is still sleeping despite many advantages to dominate the global pepper market.