Agri-exports hitting the shelves

January 25, 2023 | 13:00
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Vietnamese agricultural saw a record export turnover of $53.2 billion last year, over $3 billion more than the goal, while many agricultural products gained access to high-standard markets.

Over the second half of 2022, the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) continuously announced that many Vietnamese agricultural products had been permitted to enter other countries, such as longan and macadamia nuts to Japan; durian, passion fruit, and sweet potato to China; pomelo to the US; longan to Japan; and lemons and pomelo to New Zealand.

Agri-exports hitting the shelves
Agri-exports hitting the shelves - photo Shutterstock

“2022 could be considered the most successful ever, as many agricultural products of Vietnam gained access to top markets,” said Hoang Trung, director of the MARD’s Plant Protection Department.

In addition to the Chinese market developments, the two sides last November signed a protocol on phytosanitary requirements for Vietnamese sweet potatoes and bird’s nests imported into China, after nearly four years of negotiations.

Edible bird’s nests are created by various swiftlets that are harvested for human consumption. They are particularly prized in Chinese culture due to their rarity, high protein content, and rich flavour. Currently, Vietnam has more than 22,000 bird’s nest houses with an annual output of about 120 tonnes worth over $500 million.

The door seems to be widening for agricultural export to major markets, creating great motivation for Vietnam’s manufacturing to improve capacity and operate in a more professional and methodical manner.

On November 28, 2022, Chanh Thu Fruit Import-Export Group became the first Vietnamese enterprise to export pomelo that originates from southern Ben Tre province to the United States. General director Ngo Tuong Vy said that 40 tonnes of green-skinned pomelos were exported to the US by using air freight and sea freight.

It is forecasted that pomelo will bring the largest export value compared to the other types of fruits that have been permitted for export to the US before, such as dragon fruit, lychees, and star apples. Vietnam’s pomelo growing area is not only large but also concentrated, creating a favourable condition to apply the cultivation process that the US requires, which is available to supply export all year round.

Appraising the agricultural sector’s results in 2022, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said, “The export turnover record in the last year has demonstrated a change in thinking about agricultural production in localities and enterprises which pay attention to improve the quality standards to export to fastidious markets.”

For example, Vietnam’s durians have been allowed to be exported to China via official channels since July 2022. Under the signing of the protocol between the MARD and Chinese customs, an initial shipment of 20 containers of durian was exported via official channels from the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak in September. Following that, Vietnam has continued to export many other durian shipments to China.

In October 2022 alone, the export of durian to China reached nearly $50 million, an increase of more than 4,000 per cent compared to the same period last year. Up to now, China has granted over 100 codes of growing areas and codes of packing facilities for Vietnamese durian. This number is expected to rise because there are currently about 300 codes awaiting a licence.

Trung of the Plant Protection Department emphasised that localities and businesses need to focus on particular aspects. “Instead of trying to increase the growing area and output, the durian sector should pay attention to building brands and standardising production, from cultivation, harvesting, and processing to transportation and distribution,” he said.

By the end of October 2022, the country’s durian export turnover reached $293.6 million, up 91.5 per cent over the same period of 2021. Durian accounted for 17 per cent of Vietnam’s total fruit export value in the period, only after dragon fruit.

Nguyen Khac Huy,Director, Hoang Phat Fruit

On January 3, we successfully exported the first 1-tonne longan batch from the Mekong Delta province of Long An to Japan by air, and four days later, it hit the shelves in Japanese supermarkets.

In order to export this batch of longan, the company had to go through many rigorous evaluation processes, being granted codes for growing areas and a factory. The products met the requirements of having no chemical residues, and ensuring the treatment could be processed at 1.3 degrees within 13 days, under the supervision of Japanese experts.

We will supply about 70-100 tonnes of fresh longan by sea and air to Japan on a monthly basis, marking the successful opening for Vietnamese agricultural products to enter foreign markets, and signalling a dynamic year for the business in 2023.

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By The Hoang

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