|A farmer harvests early maturing lychees in Lục Ngạn District, Bắc Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo
BẮC GIANG — Việt Nam’s lychee production hubs in the North have entered the early harvest season this year and are preparing plans for its flagship fruit consumption amid export difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On total cultivation areas of more than 28,100ha, Bắc Giang Province expects to harvest 160,000 tonnes of lychees this year, up 10,000 tonnes over 2019, of which 45,000 tonnes are early maturing lychees collected during May 20 and June 10.
The main crop is scheduled for harvest between June 10 and July 10 with an estimated volume of 115,000 tonnes.
In the 2020 crop, the cultivation area produced by VietGAP standards in the province has reached 15,000 hectares with estimated output of 110,000 tonnes, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the total cultivation areas and 68.7 per cent of total output.
In previous years, about 50 per cent of lychee production used to be consumed locally while another 50 per cent was exported, mainly to China. However, the export of the fruit this year is expected to decrease due to the pandemic, especially when China also increased its cultivation areas.
Bắc Giang Province has prepared specific plans and scenarios for promoting local fruit consumption, targeting local consumers and diversifying export markets to Japan, the United States, Australia, Europe and ASEAN countries besides China.
The province will organise an online promotion conference on a national scale on June 6 with attendance of leaders of many ministries, representatives of foreign embassies in Việt Nam and corporations and distribution businesses.
The provincial Department of Industry and Trade said that large distribution groups such as Aeon, Central Group and Mega Market have worked with local lychee traders in Bắc Giang for the signing of purchasing contracts.
These groups will also help export local lychees to Thailand, Singapore, the US and the EU.
In addition, 28 other distribution companies, six wholesale markets, and 31 enterprises and cooperatives both in and outside the province have registered to consume this season’s lychees.
For export, as of May 18, 250 Chinese traders registered to cometo Lục Ngạn District to buy lychees. Besides, Bắc Giang authorities have coordinated with the Plant Protection Department to ask the Japanese side to approve 19 cultivation area codes covering an area of 103ha to be able to export the first batch of fresh lychees to Japan by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, Hải Dương Province is also ready for the early lychee harvest. Output of the Thanh Hà District is estimated to reach 35,000 tonnes this year with quality expected to be better than last year.
The province is also seeking to increase consumption in the local market through sales to supermarkets and agricultural product processing companies to offset the declining demand from oversea markets, especially China.
According to Hoàng Thị Thúy Hà, vice chairwoman of the Thanh Hà District People's Committee, the district will continue working with local departments to invite businesses and traders to the locality to buy lychees. Although exports will be difficult due to the pandemic, consumption of lychees will not be in trouble if it takes full advantage of the domestic market, she said.
Many businesses have visited and surveyed lychee gardens such as Big C, Thuận Thiên Investment and Development Joint Stock Company, Ikon Food and Biggreen Vietnam. Companies such as Hải Dương Agricultural Products and Foodstuff Joint Stock Company, Hà Nội Trade Corporation (Hapro) and other supermarkets such as Co.opmart, Vinmart and Intimex also have plans to buy local lychees. — VNS