Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Experts from Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources have been on fact-finding tours of HCM City and Long An, Tiền Giang and Bình Thuận provinces to evaluate their dragon fruit production, packaging and exports.
It was one of the final steps before Australia opened its doors to fresh dragon fruit from Việt Nam, according to the Plant Protection Department.
The Australian experts had greatly appreciated the production, growing and packaging processes of Vietnamese dragon fruit, it said.
The Australian Government would release a draft report on the evaluation outcomes at the end of this year for stakeholders’ benefit, and possibly allow the import of Vietnamese white and red dragon fruits by the end of this year or early next year, it said.
It has also worked with Japanese authorities and Vietnamese fresh dragon fruits could be exported to that country in the near future, it said.
Fruit exports to several demanding markets had increase in 2016, it said, with exporters shipping more than 4,608 tonnes to the US, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand in the first half of the year, a year-on-year increase of 81 per cent.
According to the Việt Nam Trade Office in Australia, Australia imports fruits and vegetables worth US$1.7-2 billion from other countries, with imports from Việt Nam accounting for a miniscule part.
According to the General Department of Việt Nam Customs, total exports to Australia were worth over $1.3 billion this year, with fruits and vegetables accounting for a mere $10.3 million.
Explaining why the exports of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to Australia remain modest, experts pointed to the stringent quarantine system there.
Exporters need to obtain a permit from the Australian Government.
Thus far Australia has granted import approval for Vietnamese lychee, and more than 10 tonnes of Lục Ngạn lychees have been shipped.
It has also completed risk assessment of mangoes and work is going on to finalise trade arrangements, the trade office said.
Việt Nam’s frozen, dried and processed fruits and vegetables also have great potential to be exported to Australia, experts have said.
Australia imports $22-27 million worth of processed pineapple products annually, but only $0.3-0.7 million from Việt Nam, they said.
Its imports of dried vegetables from China are worth $8-10 million a year, but only $20,000-$30,000 from Việt Nam.
The experts urged the agricultural sector to focus more on improving hygiene and food safety during the production, harvest and processing of fruits and vegetables.
Once a product is allowed to enter the Australian market, doors would open for it in other markets too, they said. — VNS