06/07/2015 09:30 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Vietnamese Lychees Get "Visas" to Enter the World's Markets

During the lychee season in 2015, Bac Giang and Hai Duong Provinces constantly received good news because many consignments of exported lychees are being sold in the markets of Europe, America, Australia and Asia. Vietnamese lychees have had "visa" to the United States and Australia, two selective markets that are opening at the prospect of raising the value of Vietnamese lychees.
 Lychee season in Luc Ngan
During June, all of the roads in Chu Town (Luc Ngan District, Bac Giang Province) were bright red. The farmers in Cam Son, Tan Son, Phong Van, Sa Ly and Hong Giang Communes bustlingly transported crates of lychees, weighing several hundreds of kilos, on their motorbikes to the agencies along Highway 31.

According to statistics of Luc Ngan District People's Committee, Highway 31 from Kim T-junction to the centre of Chu Town is only about 5km but there are more than 1,000 agencies who have registered to purchase lychees. Nguyen Giang, owner of an agency in Chu Town said: “Several years ago, when there were bumper crops of lychees, the price of the fruit dropped dramatically. This year,  lychee season in Luc Ngan is very strange! There is a bumper crop and the  selling price is high, so both farmers and dealers are very happy”.


 A variety of high quality lychees meeting GlobalGAP standards in
Luc Ngan District, Bac Giang Province. Photo: Trinh Bo/VNP


 The family of   Pham Thi Nga in Kep I Village, Hong Giang Commune harvest lychees from
a 1,7ha garden under GlobalGAP standards for exporting to the US and Australia. Photo: Trinh Bo/VNP

 Bac Giang Provincial People’s Committee has zoned 100ha which are assigned to 109 households
in Hong Giang Commune to grow lychees  under GlobalGAP standards for export. Photo: Thong Thien/VNP

Representatives from the US Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency under the US Department of 
Agriculture visit the lychee growing area under GlobalGAP standards in Hong Giang Commune. Photo: Manh Minh

Panoramic view on the lychee-growing area under  GlobalGAP in Hong Giang Commune. Photo: Trinh Bo


"It is expected that during the 2015 lychee season, Luc Ngan District will produce 100,000-130,000 tonnes of lychees. Luc Ngan lychees’ access to the US and Australian markets will help the farmers reproduce and improve the quality of the crop and apply post-harvest preservation technology to increase the value of the products.”
(Tran Quang Tan, Chairman of Luc Ngan District People’s Committee)

 
Explaining the strangeness of the lychee season in Luc Ngan this year, Nguyen Van Manh, Office Manager of the district People’s Committee said: “Luc Ngan lychees are being sold in many foreign markets, such as the United States, Australia, South Korea, Japan and France. This year the number of companies and businesses which have been registered with the district People’s Committee to purchase the fruit increased significantly over the last year. It is understandable that when the markets and the number of buyers increase, the price of the fruit will increase”.

Under the recommendation of Luc Ngan District People’s Committee, we visited Hong Giang Commune which has been zoned by the authorities to grow lychees for export to the United States and Australia. The lychee farming area was strictly controlled 24/7. It was harvest time, so in the farming area of 60 hectares under GlobalGAP standards in Kep I, Ngot and Phuong Son Villages in Hong Giang Commune, all lychee trees were laden with ripe fruit.

In a 1.7ha garden owned by Nguyen Van Luu in Kep I Village, over 20 people were busily harvesting lychees to deliver the second consignment to Australia on schedule. Luu boasted: "Immediately after my lychees are picked, they are put on a plane to Australia!"
Giap Van Long, Chief of Kep I Village cheerfully said: “Watching TV and seeing our lychees in the supermarkets in France and Malaysia, all of us have indescribable joy!"

In the lychee season this year, to help the farmers promote their products, every week the People’s Committee of Luc Ngan District provides, free of charge, two tonnes of lychees for the passengers on domestic and international commercial flights. So far, Luc Ngan District has provided 14 tonnes of lychees on the routes of Vietnam Airlines. This simple work turns out to be very effective because Vietnamese lychees have been introduced to many countries.



Transporting lychees to agencies. Photo: Thong Thien/VNP

Locals transport lychees to agencies on the 5km-long stretch of road  from Kim T-junction to
the centre of Chu Town. Photo: Thong Thien/VNP

In the lychee season this year, about 500 Chinese dealers order lychees in Luc Ngan District. Photo: Trinh Bo/VNP



 Locals in Luc Ngan District classify lychees for export. Photo: Thong Thien/VNP

Dealers classify lychees for export. Photo: Thong Thien/VNP

Lychees are packaged for export after being classified and having their stems cut off. Photo: Trinh Bo/VNP

 Locals in Luc Ngan District apply  Israel’s technology of preserving lychees with ice so the fruit
can stay fresh for 4-6 weeks. Photo: Thong Thien/VNP

Visas for Vietnamese lychees
To have good news from the export of lychees to major selective markets, Vietnam made careful preparations many years ago.
For example, on September 12, 2003, Vietnam officially asked Australia to allow the country to export fresh lychees to the Australian market. However, the Australian market requires high standards of food safety and has the most stringent plant quarantine in the world, so Vietnamese lychees could not be sold in this market.

On April 17, 2015, the Australian Ministry of Agriculture sent a formal letter to the Plant Protection Department of Vietnam to inform them that Vietnamese businesses could apply for a license for lychee exports to Australia. Only two months later, Red Dragon Co., Ltd successfully exported 17tonnes of lychees to the Australian market.

Talking about this event, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Hugh Borrowman said: “It is terrific that Australian consumers will have the opportunity to try these delicious fruit during the 2015 season, I am sure that they will enjoy this high quality and flavoursome product-just like Vietnamese consumers enjoy eating Australian fruits such as table grapes, citrus and cherries”.


The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development coordinate
with Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee and the People’s Committees of Bac Giang and Hai Duong
Provinces to organise a conference on promoting the consumption of  lychees in 2015. Photo: Thanh Vu


Reprensatives from Luc Ngan District's People's Comittee and AIC Joint-stock Company sign
the agreement on supplying lychees for export. Photo: File


 Crates of lychees are put into the system of irradiation machines to kill parasites on the fruit. Photo: Le Quan

 Sticking the certificate stamps on every crate of lychees after the irradiation treatment process. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP

Robert Guillermo, a  cadre from the US Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (the US Department of Agriculture),
packages lychees after the irradiation treatment process. Photo: Le Quan


 Alex Aexopoulos, representative from the Panasia Fresh Company, Australia which imports Vietnamese lychees,

 is pleased with the process of controlling the lychee quality of Vietnam. Photo: Le Quan


For the US market, in October, 2014, the US Department of Agriculture decided to allow the import of lychees and longans from Vietnam. To enter the US market, Vietnamese lychees must meet very strict standards on food safety. The crop must grow in registered areas and is monitored by the Plant Protection Department (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) to make sure the fruit has no pathogens or no prohibited plant protection drugs. It must undergo irradiation to eliminate parasites before export; and each consignment must have a certificate for food safety granted by Vietnamese authorities and a certificate of origin.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Hugh Borrowman
 
  “It is terrific that Australian consumers will have the opportunity to try these delicious fruit during the 2015 season, I am sure that they will enjoy this high quality and flavoursome product-just like Vietnamese consumers enjoy eating Australian fruits such as table grapes, citrus and cherries”. 


To meet the stringent standards of the US market, the appropriate authorities of Vietnam have prepared for the export of lychees to the United States for almost a year. In March, 2015 representatives of the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Department of Agriculture) visited a lychee farming area under GlobalGAP standards in Hong Giang Commune.

After checking, the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was very satisfied and granted six codes for the lychee farming areas, which are eligible to export the fruit to the US market, in Kep 1, Ngot and Phuong Son Villages. In late May, Anh Duong Sao Co., Ltd purchased the first two tonnes of lychees in Luc Ngan District and transported them to Ho Chi Minh City for irradiation treatment at Son Son’s Irradiation Plant (in Binh Tan District) to export to the US market.

At Son Son’s Irradiation Plant, the plastic crates of lychees are put into the irradiation machine with an irradiation volume of 400-1,000 Gy. This process kills the parasites on the fruit, especially the eggs and makes the larvae infertile without affecting the fruit, ensuring the health and safety of the consumers.

If the lychees are exported to the US market, after the irradiation treatment, an American staff will check randomly some crates of lychees before they are exported. If the lychees are  exported to Australia they will be checked by an expert.

Apart from lychees, Vietnam has exported other fruit to over 100 countries and territories, including 28 countries in the EU. This shows Vietnam’s great efforts in exporting its strong agricultural products to the markets of potential countries and regions. In its strategy, Vietnam plans to promote fruit which is highly competitive and has a high quality. This will bring enormous efficiency for the agricultural sector of Vietnam when we complete the negotiations on the bilateral and multilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with our partners. The story about the lychees is a typical example.



 A convoy of lorries transporting Vietnamese lychees  to be exported to China at the Lao Cai Border Gate. Photo: Thong Chi

Nearly 1.2 tonnes of lychees in Luc Ngan, Bac Giang Province are exported to France and are much sought after at four supermarkets in Paris and one in Toulouse in South France. Photo: Bich Ha/VNA

 Vietnamese lychees are sold at big supermarkets in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Nguyen Hoang Thuy

Lychees in Luc Ngan has bright red skin and thick, sweet flesh. Photo: Trinh Bo/VNP


Karolin (middle) and her friends like Vietnamese lychees very much. Photo: Thong Hai/VNP



 Australian ambassador Hugh Borrowman (middle) with staffs of the Australian  Embassy in Vietnam
taste early
lychees of the season of 2015. Photo: The Australian Embassy in Vietnam’s file. 



Story: Thong Thien & Son Nghia
Photos: Trinh Bo, Thong Thien, Thong Hai, Thong Chi,
Le Quan, Bich Ha, Manh Minh, Nguyen Hoang Thuy,
Thanh Vu & Australian Embassy in Vietnam’s Files