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Export markets pick choice Vietnamese fruits   2008-09-14 - SGGP/Tuoi Tre

Dam Van Hung, a fruit merchandiser in Ben Tre Province, gets green-peeled grapefruits ready for export. Hung expects export demand to increase as more countries find that Viet Nam can deliver fruit of good quality. 

 Vietnamese orchards are making fresh forays into export markets with even choosy customers like the US and Europe getting on board.

The large number of fruit trees that flourish in Viet Nam’s tropical climate and its fertile soil offer a wide variety of fruit that export markets are keen on, including canned pineapple, Nam Roi grapefruit, Binh Thuan dragon fruit.

 

Ben Tre green-peel grapefruit, mango, Tien Giang dragon fruit, longan, rambutan, starfruit, chilli and manioc are now exported in large quantities.
 
Dam Van Hung, a fruit merchandiser in
Ben Tre Province, says prices of green-peeled grapefruits grown in the province have increased continuously as foreign buyers, impressed with their quality, place more and more orders.
 
He says he exported 10 tons of green-peeled grapefruits to
Germany on September 6.
 
He exported 50 tons to
Germany last year, 80 tons in this year’s first eight months, and expects this to cross the 100 ton mark this year.
 
If
Vinh Long Province’s Nam Roi grapefruit was considered the “king” of fruits in the Mekong Delta few years ago, it is a serious challenger in the green-peeled grapefruit.
 
Green-peeled grapefruits were traded at VND15,000 per kilogram in Ben Tre and Tien Giang provinces last week.
 
Hung says he receives orders of up to 50 tons of grapefruits per month but he is only able to handle just a portion of this quantity.
 
Farmer Tran Anh Dung of Ben Tre says the European market currently has a big demand for green-peeled grapefruits, but there are no companies purchasing the fruits for export in the province, so farmers are having to do it themselves to the best of their ability.
 
A German buyer had come recently to his farm to buy the fruits, package them and transport to
Ho Chi Minh City for shipping abroad. This German buyer has just exported two tons to the Czech Republic, Dung says.

 

Apart from grapefruit, mango from Tien Giang and dragon fruit from Tien giang and Long An provinces have captured interest in Russian markets after two years of marketing.
 
Rambutan, longan and fresh chillies from Tien Giang and
Ben Tre Provinces have also been exported recently, says Le Quang Ninh of the Tien Giang Investment Promotion Center.  
 
Ninh says there is great demand for Vietnamese fruits in
Russia, but exporters are currently able to handle very small quantities because of the high cost of airlifting them.
 
Downstream industries
 
However, it is good news for farmers as Hanoi-based Xoai Company, one of the major exporters to
Russia, plans to build a processing facility in the Tan My Chanh Industrial Zone in Tien Giang Province early next year to buy, process, package and export fruits in big volumes to Russia and European countries by sea.
 
Meanwhile, MT Company Ltd. in Tien Giang’s My Tho City has exported 1,000 tons of fresh rambutans to the
US and the Republic of Korea
 
MT Company has also exported various processed agricultural products like manioc, citronella, chilli and banana to the
US.
 
Hung says Ben Tre has over 3,000 hectares of orchards specializing in green-peeled grapefruits that can supply sufficient quantities for expanding export markets. He feels the Government should help establish cooperatives to organize planting and applying state-of-the-art cultivation techniques.
 
Cold storage facilities are also needed for initial processing and preservation of the fruits after they are harvested.
 
At present, only 30 percent of grapefruits satisfy export standards. The figure will increase to 70-80 percent if there is proper investment, Hung adds.
 
Ninh says mango, dragon fruit and green-peeled grapefruit are potential fruits for export to
Russia and Europe. There are currently big areas specializing in growing them already, and if downstream industries of processing and packaging can be established meeting global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) standards, export volume will certainly rise.
 
Though
Russia and the US are difficult-to-please markets, meeting their requirements is within our reach, he adds.



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