10:09 | 07/08/2015 Science - Technology
(VEN) - Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat had a working visit to the Hanoi Irradiation Center under the Institute of Vietnam Atomic Energy, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST).
The Hanoi Irradiation Center, when entering operation, will help farmers and exporters reduce costs
With litchis now being exported to the US and Australia, the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) assigned the Plant Protection Department and related agencies to coordinate with the Hanoi Irradiation Center to devise a plan to early upgrade the Hanoi Irradiation Center to meet the requirements for irradiating fruit for export. According to initial calculations, the upgrading will be completed by the end of 2015 to meet the irradiation needs for late longan exports in the north. However, this schedule is likely to be postponed until 2016 due to the slow pace of upgrading.
According to Deputy Director of the Institute of Vietnam Atomic Energy Cao Dinh Thanh, the center used to conduct irradiation on some agricultural products including onions, garlic and dried medicinal herbs for some companies in the north. Following MARD's proposal, MoST decided to add about VND25 billion as funding for the center to import some equipment from Italy and the Republic of Korea to upgrade the current irradiation line. The new irradiation line would meet foreign irradiation requirements for litchis and longans with a daily capacity of 40-50 tonnes. However, there are still some auxiliary construction items that the center must undertake including cold storage and a quarantine warehouse.
According to Director of Hanoi Irradiation Center Dang Quang Thieu, to receive a US radiation license, the center must ensure that the irradiated commodities are not re-infected. Therefore, it has to prepare two separate cold storages for input and output commodities. Currently, the center has planned to build a new cold storage for input commodities which may occupy from 700-800sq.m and need about VND9 billion as investment. However, the deployment of this project is retarded due to a lack of funding from the MoST.
“The upgrade project is likely to be completed in March 2016 and Hanoi Irradiation Center can invite American experts to inspect, assess and license its line,” Cao Dinh Thanh said.
According to Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, this upgrade project attracts attention from farmers and businesses as it will help reduce their costs. For example, irradiating litchis and longans at the center may save them for US$2 per kg. The MARD will coordinate with the MoST, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and related agencies to discuss a solution to address related funding issues with the center in order that the financial support for its upgrade project will be reached this year.
Director of the Plant Protection Department Nguyen Xuan Hong said, “We have worked with US plant quarantine authorities to grant region growing codes for some longan farming areas in Hung Yen Province and Hanoi, with the intention of exporting north-grown longans of the coming harvest. If the upgrade project for the Hanoi Irradiation Center failed to meet with the schedule, longans of the coming harvest must be transported to two radiation facilities in Ho Chi Minh City for being irradiated before export.”