Food safety critical for boosting fruit export: seminar
By Ngoc Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Speakers at a seminar in HCMC on Wednesday called for concerted efforts to produce clean fruit as the most important criterion to increase the country’s fruit export, as importers are now more concerned about harmful residues.
Some said large importing markets such as the U.S. or Europe dare not buy large amounts of Vietnamese fruit due to concerns over food hygiene and safety matters, although they prefer such Vietnamese farm produce.
Jean-Luc Voisin, general director of Les Vergers Du Mekong Co., noted the first question foreign importers often ask is how the firm will solve if there are food poisoning cases caused by fruits imported from Vietnam.
Vietnam is famous for its tropical fruits, but some fruits cannot be sold widely in foreign countries due to the overuse of plant protection drugs, he added.
Eduardo A. Sabio, a representative of Veco Vietnam, said that Vietnam has tried to apply VietGAP (Good Agricultural Practices) standards in fruit production, which is the key basis for Vietnam’s agriculture to step by step meet technical requirements of different markets.
Nguyen Huu Dat, director of Post Entry Quarantine Center 2, said after Vietnam’s rambutan is allowed to enter the U.S. in March, the center expected to export longan and lychee to this market next year and mango and star apple in 2013.
Dat believed that if these fruits could enter the U.S., Vietnam’s fruits could also enter other choosy markets such as Chile, Australia and New Zealand.
According to Vietnam Fruit Association, the fruit export value is expected to reach US$600 million this year, about US$85 million higher than last year.
Currently, Vietnam ranks fifth in Asia in fruit output. Therefore, production expansion can make the export value hit the target of US$1.2 billion in 2020 set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Vietnam’s fruits are now present in 59 countries.