New hope for Binh Thuan dragon fruit

06:00 | 06/11/2021 Science - Technology

(VEN) - The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) has granted a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) certificate for Binh Thuan dragon fruit three years after the Binh Thuan Dragon Fruit Association submitted its application. This opens up new hope for increased exports of Binh Thuan dragon fruit, especially to discerning markets.

Expanding export opportunities

According to the Binh Thuan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the southeastern province cultivates about 33,750 hectares of dragon fruit, with an annual output of about 700,000 tonnes. Of those, more than 16,000 hectares meet VietGAP standards and more than 500 hectares are planted according to GlobalGAP standards. In addition, 10 dragon fruit packing facilities and 30 dragon fruit cooperatives in the province are linked to build value chains according to VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards.

The chair of the Binh Thuan Dragon Fruit Association Vo Huy Hoang said that a decade ago, the first containers of dragon fruits from Binh Thuan as well as other regions like Long An and Tien Giang provinces were exported to the Japanese market only in small volumes. Now that the PGI has been granted, the association will work with its members to exploit the full potential of this market.

Dinh Huu Phi, Director General of the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) under the Ministry of Science and Technology, said that Binh Thuan dragon fruit is Vietnam’s second agricultural product after Luc Ngan lychee to be granted a PGI in Japan, raising prospects of increased consumer trust and a much higher selling price than non-protected products.

“Therefore, this is an important milestone in bringing dragon fruit to Japan and paving the way for PGIs for other Vietnamese agricultural products in this market,” Dinh Huu Phi said. Binh Thuan dragon fruit is among Vietnam’s three products selected to submit PGI applications in Japan based on the criteria of reputation, potential market, local government interest and products engaged in trade activities.

Therefore, the NOIP supported Binh Thuan dragon fruit export in two ways: completing the registration dossier for PGI to fully meet the regulations of Japanese law and using political influence at different levels and bilateral cooperation channels to accelerate the process.

Improving product quality

Phan Van Tan, Deputy Director of the Binh Thuan Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the PGI certification in Japan affirms the prestige of the local dragon fruit and will thus help expand export markets. In addition to solutions to improve the quality of local dragon fruit, the department will coordinate with the provincial Department of Industry and Trade and related agencies to support Binh Thuan businesses in trade promotion, market expansion, and adjustment of development strategies.

“In the near future, we will coordinate with related units to support two hot steam heat treatment plants for dragon fruit in Binh Thuan province, namely the Fine Fruit Asia Company and Hong An Co., Ltd. so that they can operate smoothly with the highest efficiency, meeting the requirements of the Japanese side,” Tan said.

According to the Binh Thuan Department of Industry and Trade, dragon fruits sold in Japan must be produced according to VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards, and weigh 300 grams or more, and they must undergo thorough animal and plant quarantine inspections. Each consignment is treated with hot steam to eliminate fruit flies and increase product quality. All these processes are closely monitored by Japanese and Vietnamese experts.

The successful PGI registration of Binh Thuan dragon fruit in Japan has laid the foundation to create a

competitive advantage for the fruit to enter discerning markets.

Quynh Nga