It is hoped that Vietnam’s litchi and longan will be able to follow dragon fruit and rambutan in achieving success in the U.S., as there is still room for Vietnamese tropical fruits to grow in the market, a local plant protection official has said.
Vietnamese litchi and longan will be allowed to be sold in the U.S. starting next month, following an amended regulation from the U.S Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced on September 4.
The APHIS said that it has amended the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the importation of irradiated litchi and longan fruit from Vietnam, starting in October.
The service is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture responsible for protecting animal and plant health.
Litchi and longan are the two latest Vietnamese-grown fruits, following dragon fruit and rambutan, to be allowed to enter the U.S.
“The Vietnamese Plant Protection Department is working with U.S. inspectors to build a list of areas that grow these two kinds of fruit in Vietnam,” Nguyen Huu Dat, director of the Post-Entry Plant Quarantine Center, under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in an interview published Wednesday.
Just like dragon fruit and rambutan, the litchi and longan must obtain VietGAP certification to qualify for the U.S. market, Dat said.
VietGAP, or Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices, is a set of principles for sustainable and safe agricultural production approved by the Vietnamese government.
“The government will assist fruit exporters in shipping litchi and longan to the U.S.,” Dat said.
“But whether the U.S. will be a wide or narrow market for Vietnamese litchi and longan depends on the exporters.”
The first batch of Vietnamese dragon fruit arrived in the U.S. in 2008, after four years of negotiations, while it also took years for rambutan to be cleared for import, Dat said.
In 2008, Vietnam only shipped 100 tons of dragon fruit to the U.S., but export volumes grew to 1,200 tons by 2012, and are still expanding, he added.
“I think the exportation of Vietnamese dragon fruit to the U.S. has achieved certain success, as the fruit is mainly consumed by the Asian community there,” he said.
“I hope the market will continue to widen for Vietnamese tropical fruit, as there is more room to grow.”
Dat also said one of the advantages of exporting longan to the U.S. is that the fruit can be preserved for a long time if frozen.
“Hence, we can export by sea instead of air, with larger volumes and lower costs,” he said.