09:40 | 13/10/2017 Cooperation
Currently, the export turnover of Vietnam's fruit and vegetables has exceeded USD 2 billion and the EU is one of the most potential markets for Vietnam. However, in order to increase export value to the market, the sector needs to meet the requirements on food safety and to further improve product quality.
On October the 9th in Hanoi and October the 11th in Ho Chi Minh City, the EU - MUTRAP Project supported the Vietnam SPS Office to organize the workshop "Maintaining and expanding market for fresh fruit and vegetables of Vietnam to the EU". The workshop aimed to provide enterprises with the latest updates on the EU's requirements on imported fruit and vegetables.
According to Mr. Le Thanh Hoa, Deputy Director of the Vietnam SPS Office - Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in 2013, detecting some Sanitary and Phytosanitary - related problems of fresh fruit and vegetables from Vietnam, the EU decided to suspend import from Vietnam. Thanks to considerable effort of ministries, agencies and enterprises in improving product quality, Vietnam has retained access to the EU market. However, the total turnover is below expectations and nit matching the potentials.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Ruggero Malossi, the EU - MUTRAP expert emphasized that the EU market shows a great concern about pesticide residues. "Once a pesticide is banned, no products are allowed to contain residues of that pesticide", Mr. Ruggero said. In addition, to ensure food safety and prevent possible harm to the environment, the EU's regulations restrict the use of some chemicals, which leads to official control over products imported to the EU.
"In the event of repeated non-compliance of specific products originating from particular countries, the EU can decide to carry out controls at a stricter level or to lay down emergency measures. Controls can be carried out at all stages of import and marketing in the EU", Mr. Ruggero Malossi emphasized.
The experts also shared that contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to fruit and vegetables, but may be present as a result of the various stages of its production, packaging, transport or storage. To avoid negative impacts on the quality of food and risks to human health, the EU has set limits for several contaminants, especially the limits for nitrate in spinach and lettuce and metals in fresh fruit and vegetables.
As recommended by Dr. Nguyen Huu Dat, General Secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association, for spicies, enterprises should take control measures on ID of Greenhouse and
Packaging houses, upgrade procedures in greenhouse and cultivation procedures towards higher level of economic effectiveness. Besides, enterprise should put into operation the traceability system, materials and production zone must be certified by VietGAP.
Additionally, the experts agreed that GlobalGAP certification is currently the minimum requirement applied in supermarkets in the EU; therefore, Vietnamese enterprises should meet this requirement. At the same time, enterprises should further develop organic production for the consumers in the EU have the tendency to prefer naturally produced and processed products.
Mr. Dam Quoc Tru, the EU - MUTRAP expert suggested that, to boost export to the EU, Vietnamese Government should invest resources in negotiation with countries to reach an agreement on SPS measures. Moreover, Vietnam also needs to invest in technologies for plant quarantine, post-preservation and deep processing technologies to meet the requirements of importing countries.
Also according to Mr. Tru, Ministries, agencies should develop proper market access strategy, support transportation services for products with competitive advantages namely dragon fruits, longan, rambutan, pomelo, mango, etc.
At the workshop, the EU - MUTRAP experts answered questions made by enterprises and provided useful updates on requirements of the EU for fruit and vegetables.