Vietnam begins exporting star apples to the USA

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

US officials approved the import agreements in September.
US officials approved the import agreements in September.

Related tags International trade Export Import

Vietnam has become the first country to export star apples to the USA, with the first batch being shipped at the end of December.

US officials announced in September that the fruit could be added to a list including litchi, longan, rambutan and dragon fruit that can enter the US from Vietnam.

They were satisfied that the goods met all the required standards, largely due to concerted efforts by the Vietnamese to improve plant quarantine standards.

The US is the third-largest fruit importer for Vietnam, with revenue growing by 44% to US$84.5m in 2016,.

The first shipment of star apples was dispatched by by the Cat Tuong Agricultural Products Producing & Processing Co Ltd from the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.

Vietnam has about 5,000 hectares of star apple fruits, mostly in the Mekong Delta, yielding 60,000 tonnes each year.

The provincial People’s Committee has pledged to help improve infrastructure to boost the market, while companies themselves are also striving to upgrade standards.

Farmer contracts

It is understood that Cat Tuong Agricultural Products Producing & Processing invested packaging and preserving facilities to meet stringent US rules.

It also secured deals with farmers to ensure a steady supply of the fruits.

According to the US Apple Association, the country imports fresh apples — predominately from the Southern Hemisphere — to keep grocery shelves stocked late season just before its fall harvest.

Approximately 5% of fresh apples consumed in the US are imported. The top sources of imports are Chile, Canada and New Zealand.

Aroundy one of every four fresh apples grown in the US is exported. The top export markets are Mexico, Canada, India, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and, ironically, Vietnam.

Vietnamese star apples are already exported to a host of Asian countries, with officials hoping South Korea will soon grant import licences as well. 

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