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Wide road for export of lychees to Australia
  4/7/2017 4:13:34 PM
This is the 3rd season fresh lychees of Thanh Ha (Hai Duong) have been present in Australia.

Hai Duong lychees have been accepted by Australian consumers (photo provided by the Commercial Counselor of Vietnam in Australia)

Despite a small amount of exports to the market, lychees have initially conquered consumers there.

Strict process

Ripe round lychees are being harvested by farmers in Thanh Khe commune (Thanh Ha) for export to Australia. It cost Thanh Ha farmers a lot of time and effort to have delicious lychees meeting strict requirements of the market.

"Lychee gardens must always be clean. I have reminded farmers to record every chemical spraying and fertilization time in their diaries for businesses and appropriate authorities to control. This year, despite a poor crop, the quality of thieu lychees is still eligible for export," said Nguyen Thi Hue, Deputy Head of the Thanh Ha Division of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Before being exported to Australia, Thanh Ha lychees have to undergo many censorship stages similar to the process of exporting lychees to the US.

This year, instead of transporting lychees to Ho Chi Minh city like every year, export lychee batches of Thanh Ha are irradiated in Ha Noi. The shorter route and time help Thanh Ha lychees still be fresh when they reach Australian consumers' hands.

"Hai Duong exported lychees to Australia the earliest. On June 2, the most delicious and freshest lychees of Thanh Ha were selected by us for export to the market," said Mai Xuan Thin, Director of Red Dragon Co., Ltd.

"The first more than 2.4 tons of lychees arrived in the country by air. On June 8, over seven tons of early lychees of Thanh Ha were shipped to Australia.

"We chose export by sea due to lower costs, helping increase the competitiveness of Hai Duong lychees against those from China and Thailand."

To export fresh lychees to Australia, cultivation and harmful organism management methods must be strictly applied to lychee growing regions.

One of the mandatory requirements is that such production regions must employ Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and be inspected and granted codes by the Plant Protection Department (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development).

In addition, lychees must be carefully selected so as not to be infected with pestilent insects, covered with soil, mixed with products from regions yet to be granted codes, etc.

Lychees must be cleaned and preserved in cartons with clear information to serve traceability.

Market acceptance

The lychees arriving in Australia were accepted and appreciated by consumers there. This is good news for Hai Duong growers and exporters.

Over the phone, Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Commercial Counselor of Vietnam in Australia, said this was not the first time fresh lychees of Hai Duong had arrived in Australia; nonetheless, they were always excitedly welcomed by local residents.

When the first lychees of Hai Duong were put on sale in Little Sai Gon market in Footscray, numerous people came to buy them.

Vietnamese people residing in Australia always look forward to Vietnamese lychees to find their homeland's taste. As for native people, Vietnamese lychees have their own attractiveness.

"An Australian friend told me that Vietnamese lychees have a very strange taste. They not only are attractive thanks to their sweetness but also give off a delicate fragrance of roses on the tip of the tongue. That's how Australian people feel when enjoying Vietnamese lychees," said Thuy.

Though the current time is not the lychee season in Australia, apart from Vietnamese lychees, Chinese and Thai ones are also present there.

Fresh lychees of China and Thailand appeared in Australia nearly five years earlier than those of Vietnam. However, since Australia allowed fresh lychees of Vietnam to be imported into the market, lychees made in Vietnam have been rated much higher.

"Chinese lychees have green skin, taste acrid, and are less sweet than Vietnamese lychees. Furthermore, Australian people are very cautious about Chinese fruits; thus, this is a great opportunity for Hai Duong lychees to conquer the market," said Nguyen Hoang Thuan, owner of a fruit shop in Little Sai Gon market.

"Australian farmers grow a lot of lychees but the lychee season in Australia falls in the last months of the year; hence, Vietnamese lychees are having many advantages at this moment.

"Compared to Thai and Chinese lychees, Vietnamese ones are more expensive. This is the most disadvantageous characteristic of Vietnamese lychees in the Australian market.

"Therefore, if unnecessary costs can be cut down to lower the selling price, lychess of Vietnam in general and Hai Duong in particular will definitely be able to conquer this market."

Australia is a potential market for fruit import. The market's acceptance of fresh lychees from Hai Duong is a good signal. Nonetheless, to successfully export lychees to many other markets, especially fastidious ones, appropriate authorities of the province should pay more attention to the production process so that the provincial lychees can meet export standards.

As for early lychee regions, apart from production planning towards VietGAP, it is necessary to expand production towards GlobalGAP. Production following the new standard will help Hai Duong lychees easily be exported to many other countries other than Australia.

There should be trade promotion and exchange of information with businesses or representatives of Vietnam Commercial Affairs in foreign markets to gain more support opportunities for lychees, resulting in wide export roads.

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