Vietnam rambutan exports rise along with qualityUpdate: 3/1/2013
With the adoption of quality agricultural practices in the country, Vietnamese rambutan fruit can now meet the technical standards required to enter exacting markets like the US and the EU.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said rambutan accounts for the largest export earnings of any fruit, topping US$2.5 million last year and $1.8 million in the first half of this year.
Fruit exporters said many markets, including the United Arab Emirates, Korea, and the Netherlands were eagerly buying Vietnamese rambutan thanks to the improving quality.
Farmers in Mekong Delta provinces are also waiting for their first batches of rambutan to enter the US market since getting export licenses in April.
Nguyen Van Lap, head of the Tan Khanh rambutan cooperative in Vinh Long Province, said its 39 household members tending 31 hectares had obtained Global GAP (good agricultural practices) certificates, enabling export to the US.
In Ben Tre and Tien Giang Provinces, hundreds of farmers are waiting to harvest 80 hectares of Global GAP-certified rambutan for exports.
With quality ensured, exporters said the next thing to consider was the timing of the exports.
Nguyen Thi Hong Thu, head of the Ben Tre-based Chanh Thu Co, said Vietnamese exporters could not compete with their Mexican and Thai rivals during the latter’s main fruit season.
“It costs $6 for a kilogram of [our] rambutan to enter the US, taking the retail price to $10, while the Mexican fruit is sold at only $2 there,” she said.
Vuong Dinh Khoat, director of An Phu Irradiation Co, explained that the Mexican fruit was much cheaper since the exporters did not have to spend much on transportation, while Thailand had 30 years’ experience in exporting rambutan to the US.
So, fruit exporters said, Vietnam should export rambutan to the US at a time when the fruit season was over in other countries.
This was completely feasible since rambutan could be grown at any time of the year in Vietnam, they said.