Việt Nam explores northern irradiation centre to boost fruit exports

June 08, 2023 - 15:27
The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to negotiate with the US to set up an irradiation centre in the northern region to facilitate fruit export.
Pre-processing line of lychees at Global Export and Import Foodstuff Co in Bắc Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to negotiate with the US on setting up an irradiation centre in the northern region to facilitate exports of fruit.

During the National Assembly's question-and-answer session on Wednesday, Minister of Science and Technology Huỳnh Thanh Đạt responded to an inquiry from a legislator from the northern province of Bắc Giang, known for its lychee farming, about the measures for irradiating lychee and other fruits in the northern region to meet the technical requirements of importing countries.

Some markets, including the US, require irradiation for the export of agricultural produce.

Minister Đạt explained that previously, lychee from Bắc Giang had to be sent to HCM City or Long An Province in the South for irradiation, which incurred high expenses. To address this issue, the MoST is working with the MARD to negotiate with the US to open an irradiation centre in the northern region. The goal is to ensure that by the end of the year, lychee from the North can be irradiated according to US standards, enabling its entry into the US market.

The minister expressed optimism that this move would boost lychee and fruit exports.

He also discussed the application of high technology in agricultural production and highlighted its importance in improving labour productivity and the quality of life for farmers. The MoST and the MARD are actively cooperating to promote the application of high technology in agriculture. Several businesses, such as Lộc Trời (rice production), TH True Milk (dairy production), and Dabaco (livestock farming), have already engaged in this effort.

Statistics show that in 2022, agro-forestry-fishery exports and imports reached more than US$53.2 billion, partly due to the application of science and technology. However, the minister acknowledged that there are still barriers to overcome in the application of high technology, including the need for significant investments in infrastructure, production, and manpower development. Additionally, there are inherent risks in this field.

The MoST will consider revising mechanisms and policies while encouraging the development of high-tech agricultural zones in various regions to improve productivity and the quality of agricultural products.

In other news related to Bắc Giang, the province is planning to export lychee, one of its specialties, through the Kép railway station for the first time this year. The railway station has been providing international freight transportation services since February 2023, with a daily handling capacity of 80 to 100 carriages or containers.

Trần Thế Hùng, director of the Railway Transport and Trade JSC, which operates the railway station, confirmed that preparations for the transportation of lychee to neighbouring China had been completed. The railway station can transport up to 300 tonnes of lychee from Bắc Giang's Lạng Giang District to Pingxiang in China daily. This mode of transportation is expected to save time and reduce congestion at border gates.

Deputy Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Phan Thế Tuấn suggested that negotiations continue at the ministerial and agency levels to facilitate the export of key agricultural products from the province through official channels. — VNS