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Vietnam’s dragon fruits are returning to Japan   2009-10-28 - TBKTSG

The Vietnamese dragon fruit is headed back to Japan after 10 years away.


The news was revealed in the official gazette of the Japanese Government on October 20, 2009.


Vietnam once exported dragon fruit to Japan in large quantities in the years prior to 2000. However, the Government had prohibited the import of dragon fruit since 2000, asking Vietnam to settle the problem of fruit fly.


According to Dr Le Duc Khanh from the Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), fruit fly is a big problem or import markets and any products attacked by fruit fly will be not eligible to enter countries


Vietnamese farmers once had the same problem when exporting dragon fruit to the US. However, Vietnam’s dragon fruit has got the license to enter the US market after the fruit fly problem was treated with irradiation technology.


As for Japan’s market, the plant hygiene agency of the country requires that the fruit fly problem must be treated with a hot steam method in accordance with Japanese standards.


PPRI under the direction of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has successfully implemented measures to settle fruit fly with steam.


According to PPRI’s Head Dam Quoc Tru, MARD in late 2008 sent a document to Japan, requesting reopening the market for Vietnam’s dragon fruit.


In July 2009, Japanese fruit processing company, Yasada, set up a fruit processing factory with the investment capital of four million dollar in Binh Duong Province which has the capacity of treating 4,000 tonnes of dragon fruit every year.


Tru said that PPRI has invited Japanese officials to Vietnam to examine the process of treating dragon fruit.


“They are examining conditions at Yasaka factory. If everything goes smoothly, the first consignment of dragon fruit will head for Japan in early November after 10 years of interruption,” he said.


Vietnam now has 14,000 hectares of dragon fruit growing area, including 10,000 hectares in Binh Thuan province, which is called the ‘dragon fruit granary’, and 4,000 hectares in Long An and Tien Giang provinces. The area provides 200,000 tonnes of dragon fruit every year.


Vietnam is now looking at a way to export dragon fruit to Taiwan which has halted imports since March 2009. Taiwanese agencies have required the dragon fruit to be either treated with heat or irradiated.

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