Performance of India and Vietnam in foreign trade sector


The exports of Vietnam increased from US$ 15 billion 2001 to $132 billion in 2013 i.e. by about 9 times during the 12 years and to $150 billion in 2014 i.e. by  10 times in 13 years. On the other hand  exports from India increased from $44 billion in 2001-2002 to $ 313 billion in 2013-14 i.e only by about 7 times. While in 2001, India’s exports were about 3 times that of Vietnam, in 2013, it is only about 2.5 times.

As regards imports, Vietnam’s imports increased from $16.2 billion in 2001 to $131 billion in 2013 i.e by about 7 times and in 2014 to $148 billion i.e. by about 9 times in 13 years. Imports have grown at a lower rate than those of exports. But imports into India increased from $51 billion in 2001-02 to  $450 billion in 2013-14 i.e by about  9 times.Imports have grown at a higher rate than exports.

While trade balance in Vietnam became surplus of $0.9 in 2013 from deficit of $1.2 billion in 2001, In India trade balance grew from a deficit of $7.6 billion in2001-02 to trade deficit of $137 billion in 2013-14.

The above figures show that on the foreign trade front, India’s performance is poor compared to that of Vietnam.


Declining position of India in Cashew production and exports.


Till late 1990s, India was the largest producer of raw cashew nuts(cashew nuts with shell) and largest exporter of processed cashew nuts in the world. Roasted Cashew nuts also used to be an important item of export from India.However India is now not so prominent in the world as an exporter.While India’s production of raw cashew went up only by about 50% from 420,000 MT in 1996 to 675,000 MT in 2011,Vietnam’s production increased by about 500% from 237000 MT to 12,72,000 MT during this period making Vietnam the largest producer in the world. Nigeria’s production went up by about 700% from 110,000 MT to 813000 MT, making Nigeria, the second largest producer behind Vietnam and ahead of India.India thus is only the third largest producer in the world.

The low increase in production in India is due to low yield. During the 15 year period from 1996 to 2011, in India the yield increased only marginally from 0.66MT per hectare, while in Nigeria it went up by about 400% from 0.63MT to 2.46 MT.The yield in Vietnam increased from 2.23MT to 3.84MT.

In India as much as 0.95 million hectare of land is under cashew while Vietnam and Nigeria each have only about 0.33 million ha under cashew.

In 2001, India was the largest exporter of roasted cashew nuts with exporters of about 90,000 MT when Vietnam’s exports were only 44000 MT. But in 2011, India’s exports were almost at the same level at 93,000 MT while Vietnam’s exports went up by 4 times to 195,000 MT.

Cashew tree starts yielding from about 3rd year and its life is about 35-40 years.
India should consider measures to increase yield by encouraging farmers to grow high yielding dwarf varieties, consider giving grants and subsidies and/or procuring raw cashew nuts at a much higher price which would offset effect of increased wages of workers as also services like transport etc.

India should also coordinate with other large producing/exporting countries like Vietnam and Nigeria to promote consumption of cashew nuts in the world particularly in developed importing countries, to evolve high-yielding varieties,exchange of information, exchange of agricultural and industrial experts etc.

India- Electricity Production and Consumption


India is the 6th largest producer and consumer of electricity in the world. However, India’s per capita production and consumption is very low as seen from the table below.

country Population



(million kwh)

Percapita prod.(Kwh) Consumption(million kwh) Percapita consu ption(kwh)
Bangladesh   156     22990    147      21380    137
Vietnam     87     66810    768      59300    682
Venezuela     27   113300   4196      83020   3075
China 1339 3041000   2271  2835000   2117
France     62   535700   8640    447000   7210
UK     61   368600   6043    345800   5660
United States   307 4110000 13388  3837000 12498
INDIA 1166   761700     653    568000     487


Even as late as 2003, Vietnam’s per capita production and consumption of electricity was much lower than India.  Electricity consumption is an indication of the economic and social development of a country.  India should increase its consumption by about 10 times to join the club of economically developed countries. Every town authorities should be encouraged to produce electricity from garbage, biogas and sunlight in cooperation with local consumers. Every water reservoir should attempt to produce hydro power.

Prices of vegetables and other agricultural produce.


The prices of sugar, pulses and vegetables have gone up in recent days/months in India. There is a lot of talk and criticism of the government on the poor handling of price situation. 

 Sugar prices have gone up world wide. The price of sugar in world market is US$620 a tonne or Rs.29 per kilo. In Vietnam it is Rs.48 a kilo and in India it is only Rs.30-Rs.35.

Similarly prices of vegetables have also gone up in many countries for reasons like flood, heavy rains, lower production etc. For example in Vietnam, cabbage costs now Rs.37.50 (VND15000) against Rs.12.50(VND 5000) earlier. Tomato costs Rs.32.50(VND13000) against Rs.10(VND 4000) earlier. In Tamilnadu for example, tomato costs about Rs.20  against about Rs.10 (VND 4000) earlier(all in retail market) The price of pumpkins went up in Vietnam from around Rs.12.50 (VND 5000)  per kg to Rs.35.(VND 14000)

In general in Vietnam prices have gone up by about 3 times while in India prices of  vegetables have gone up in recent times by about  2 times.

In Bangladesh the prices are reported to have  surprisingly fallen down, but they are still as high as or higher than in India. Brinjal used to sell at Rs.27(Taka 40) has come down to Rs.20,(Taka 20) which is the price in India, ladies finger from Rs.27(Taka 40) to Rs.23 (Taka 35) (In Tamilnadu it is Rs.20) and green chilli from Rs.33(taka 50) to Rs.20 (Taka 30). In Tamilnadu, green chilli is selling at Rs.20 a kg for several months.

In Vietnam and Bangladesh, the wage rates/salary levels  are much lower than in India.

The wages of unskilled agricultural and other laborers have gone up from Rs.35 per day to Rs.100 per day in the last three years for women and from Rs.70 per day to Rs.150- Rs.200 per day for men

 The prices of vegetables were very low in India for a long time and these need to be corrected. If prices stabilize at the present level, it would mean that the necessary correction in prices has taken place and the people need to accept this correction and learn to live with the present level of prices of vegetables. The prices may fall down but low prices may not last for long.