Vietnam Fruits Getting Ready for US Market

5:35:22 PM | 9/26/2014

According to a decision by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Vietnam will be allowed to export litchi and longan fruits to the United States from October 6, 2014. Thus, together with rambutan and dragon fruit, the door for Vietnamese fruits to enter the world’s most demanding market is opened wider.
Mr Hoang Trung, Deputy Director of the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam, recommended Vietnamese producers and exporters to carefully prepare for successful penetration.
 
According to USDA regulations, Vietnamese litchi and longan fruits to be exported to the United States must meet certain hygiene and food safety standards.
 
Specifically, Vietnamese litchi and longan must be grown in registered areas placed under supervision of the Plant Protection Department of Vietnam to ensure their disease-free status; must be irradiated to eliminate parasites; and labelled phytosanitary certificate of the Plant Protection Department of Vietnam. In addition, these products must meet strict regulations on pesticide residues.
 
After passing the above conditions, the fruits still have to overcome their own barriers. Vietnam must build growing areas large enough to supply the fruits over the long term. On the other hand, it must reduce intermediaries to lower product cost to compete with rivals exporters to the United States.
 
To assist manufacturers and businesses to tap this opportunity, the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam has planned to cooperate with US quarantine authorities to complete radiation maps for specific fruits from Vietnam. The authorities of the two countries have chosen two companies eligible for participating in irradiation for Vietnamese fruits exported to the US.
 
The Plant Protection Department told local authorities to examine and review codes granted to VietGap-standardised farming areas in southern provinces. Regional codes enable software systems to identify and examine the origins of fruits. To be granted the codes, the farming area must be 10 ha or more. If the area is smaller than required, farmers are recommended to merge with each other to be qualified for the codes. In late September, irradiation maps, technical and quality criteria of each product will be announced by Vietnamese and US authorities.
 
With this preparation schedule, the first shipment will be shipped stateside this November to explore the market, estimate the demand and potential before making big moves in the following year, said Mr Hoang Trung.
 
Nguyen Thanh