According to Pham Anh Tuan, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, star apple is among the locality’s seven competitive fruits and entering the US market opens big opportunities for local farmers to ensure economic efficiency and social security.
To ensure sustainable shipments to this fastidious market, businesses and farmers need to cultivate the fruit in a value chain, pay due attention to the importers’ quarantine requirements as well as set up GAP specialised farming zones, he noted.
Cooperatives, scientists, businesses and farmers should join hands to improve quality of farm produce, assure products’ origin and seek stable markets for the fruit, he added.
Cao Van Hoa, Acting Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the province has made significant efforts to support star apple exports to the American market, including setting up specialised growing zones, connecting local farmers with export enterprises and popularising the US’s requirements on star apple imports.
Trade barriers when exporting to the US as well as farmers’ role in improving star apple’s quality were highlighted at over 100 training courses as well, Hoa said.
Meanwhile, Doan Van Sang, Director of Cat Tuong Agricultural Products Producing & Processing Co., Ltd, asked relevant authorities to continue transferring cultivation techniques to local farmers so that their fruits are qualified to enter the US market.
Vietnam has become the first country allowed to export star apple to the US after 10 years of negotiations. This follows a report sent by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department.
The breakthrough was based on the findings of a pest-risk analysis and public reviews and comments that found the fruit could be safely exported to the US.
Together with litchi, longan, rambutan and dragon fruit, star apple is the fifth Vietnamese fruit allowed to be sold in the American market.
Preliminary statistics show that Vietnam has about 5,000 hectares of star apples, mainly in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang (3,100 hectares) and Can Tho city (1,200 hectares).
Fruit productivity is about 18-22 tonnes per hectare. Total annual output is more than 60,000 tonnes. Until now, most of the fruit has been either eaten locally or exported to China and ASEAN nations. The successful export of the fruit to the US market opens up great opportunities for Vietnam to develop growing areas.