VN ships first batch of dragon fruit to Australia

Thursday, Sep 21, 2017 11:45

Workers of Hoang Phat Fruit Company Ltd., are packaging dragon fruit for export to Australia. — Photo

Viet Nam is the first and only country having been licensed by Australia to export dragon fruit to the country after years of negotiations, which is marked by the first batch of dragon fruit shipped to the market on Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has said.

Nguyen Khac Huy, director of the Hoang Phat Fruit Company Ltd in the southern province of Long An, said the company’s first batch of 300 tonnes of dragon fruits was shipped by air to Australia. After this shipment, more orders were expected, which will be transported by sea at a lower price.

Speaking at a ceremony, which was held in Hoang Phat Fruit Company Ltd, to announce the first batch of dragon fruit to be exported to Australia, MARD Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam said the export of Vietnamese dragon fruit to Australian was important for the local agricultural sector, highlighting the efforts of farmers, exporters and agencies.

“It also creates co-ordination among them to generate quality products that ensure food safety. This is also a chance to demonstrate the level of technical management capacity of Viet Nam’s agricultural industry that needs to be recognised on the international market,” said Nam.

Karen Lanyon, the Australian consul general in HCM City, expressed her delight to witness a new step in business co-operation between the two countries.

She said she had enjoyed dragon fruit in Viet Nam and she was happy to know that now her family and friends in Australia can enjoy it.

The fruit, which has been qualified for export, has no residue of pesticides and some eight to 12 fruits are contained in a 5kg box. The produce must be free of insects and diseases, and must not have contaminant pollutants.

The dragon fruit exported to Australia must have been cultivated in good farming areas, which will be inspected by the MARD’s Plant Protection Department. At the same time, it must undergo vapour heat treatment (VHT) for 40 minutes at 46.5 degrees Celsius with a minimum of 90 per cent humidity at a processing facility approved by the department.

In late August, Australia approved the import of Vietnamese dragon fruit, even as Viet Nam approved imports of cherries from Australia.

Pham Van Canh, vice chairman of Long An People’s Committee said the success opens the way for the province’s fruit to enter other choosy markets. He added that at present, 80 per cent of dragon fruit grown in Long An is shipped to China, 15 per cent is sold on the domestic market and only 5 per cent is exported to other markets including Japan, Thailand, the US and Europe.

He said the provincial authorities will provide more guidance to local farmers and exporters in improving production and preservation techniques to meet Australia’s requirements.

Apart from Hoang Phat’s vapour heat treatment plant, there are three other factories of the same kind in HCM City and the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Binh Thuan, which will meet the demand for the treatment of dragon fruit exported to Australia.

News website quoted Nam as saying that there are 32 provinces and cities growing dragon fruits on more than 25,000 ha, yielding some 460,000 tonnes per year. The growing areas are concentrated in the southern provinces of Binh Thuan, Tien Giang and Long An.

Dragon fruit is a key export fruit for Viet Nam. In 2016, the country earned US$895 million from exports of dragon fruit, 50.3 per cent of the country’s total fresh fruit export. It has entered many markets such as China, South Korea, Japan and US. — VNS

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