Viet­nam strives to ex­port more suc­cu­lent litchis to main­land

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS -

HANOI — Fac­ing a lean har­vest but en­joy­ing good prices, Viet­nam’s litchi grow­ing hub is in­ten­si­fy­ing cul­ti­va­tion of the suc­cu­lent fruit in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, and ex­port­ing half of its out­put to China.

In June, an of­fi­cial from Bac Giang’s Bureau of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment said that the north­ern prov­ince is encouraging more local farm­ers to grow litchi trees ac­cord­ing to Glob­alGAP or Vi­etGAP, and pro­mot­ing the fruit both at home and abroad.

Vi­etGAP is the Viet­namese ver­sion of Glob­alGAP (Good Agri­cul­tural Prac­tices), a vol- un­tary au­dit which ver­i­fies that fruit and veg­eta­bles are pro­duced as safely as pos­si­ble to min­i­mize risks of mi­cro­bial food safety haz­ards.

“On June 8, we held a litchi sales pro­mo­tion con­fer­ence in Pingx­i­ang in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion. We hope that in Guangxi, our spe­cial ‘thieu’ litchi will win con­sumers’ hearts,” said the of­fi­cial.

This year, Bac Giang is main­tain­ing ex­port of both fresh and pro­cessed litchi, said Duong Van Thai, vice-chair­man of the pro­vin­cial Peo­ple’s Com­mit­tee, not­ing that most of the fresh litchi is ex­ported to China.

Some 40,000 tons of fresh litchi, or 80 per­cent of the fruit’s out­put ear­marked for ex­port this year, will go to China. Other ex­port markets in­clude other Asian coun­tries like Ja­pan, South Korea and Sin­ga­pore, and some far­away ones, in­clud­ing the United States and Aus­tralia.

Luc Ngan district, Bac Giang’s big­gest litchi grow­ing area, is fore­cast to pro­duce some 100,000 tons of litchi in 2017, down one-third com­pared to 2016, said Cao Van Hoan, vice-chair­man of the Luc Ngan Peo­ple’s Com­mit­tee.

“Dur­ing last year’s litchi har­vest, I bought and resold 900 tons of litchi, but the fig­ure this year can be halved, al­though the Chi­nese de­mand is very high,” a mid­dle-aged woman said, point­ing to the suc­cu­lent fruit piled up in her road­side ware­house in Luc Ngan.

With chubby rosy cheeks, Nguyen Thi Hoai from the district’s Phuong Son com­mune, on the morn­ing of June 12 was as busy as a bee driv­ing a hard bargain with litchi grow­ers, and di­rect­ing her staff to weigh the fruit packed in cylin­dri­cal crates made of wood or iron.

“Dur­ing this litchi har­vest, my hus­band and I are buy­ing 15-18 tons a day, at prices of around 40,000 Viet­namese dong ($1.8) a kilo­gram on av­er­age. Dur­ing last year’s crop, prices were around 30,000 Viet­namese dong ($1.3),” Hoai said.

The local trader at­trib­uted the price hike to this year’s bad crop due to un­fa­vor­able weather con­di­tions.

“Litchi trees need cold weather to blos­som, but this year is too hot. Be­sides, when the fruit was tak­ing shape, heavy down­pours tore their skins,” said Giap Van Truong, who sold nearly 50 kilo­grams of litchi to Hoai on the morn­ing of June 12.

In a thread­bare mil­i­tary uni­form, Truong from Bac Giang’s Luc Nam district looked like a de­mo­bi­lized sol­dier, but he has been a gen­uine farmer for years, grow­ing over 800 big litchi trees.

“Last year, I har­vested 15 tons of litchi. But this year, the out­put will be only four or five tons,” he be­moaned, but show­ing no des­per­a­tion.

Be­sides Bac Giang, litchis are grown in the two other north­ern prov­inces of Hai Duong and Hung Yen.

In Viet­nam’s north­ern Lang Son prov­ince bor­der­ing China, many shops-cum-ware­houses can store 500-1,000 tons of fruit, mostly litchi and lon­gan, each. Ev­ery sum­mer, one shop in the prov­ince’s Dong Dang bor­der town sells, on av­er­age, 40 tons of fruit, local traders said.

“Our cus­tomers come mainly from Guangxi, Zhe­jiang, Fu­jian and Sichuan. They like dried litchi best, then lon­gan pulp and lon­gan,” said Bui Thi Men from Hung Yen, who has worked as a fruit trader in the bor­der town’s Day Thep area for years.


Viet­nam farm­ers wait to sell their litchi fruit to local traders at the mar­ket in Luc Ngan district in Viet­nam’s north­ern prov­ince of Bac Giang.


Chi­nese tourists shop at a Kaza­khstan store in the China-Kaza­khstan Khor­gos Fron­tier In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Cen­ter.

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