A two-tonne batch of lychees imported for the first time from Vietnam were sent to supermarkets in the UK on June 30.
The fresh fruits were imported by the London-based TT Meridian under the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
In order to meet stringent food safety standards of the UK market, TT Meridian has cooperated with FUSA Organic Agriculture Joint Stock Company in Vietnam to select lychees grown in farms meeting Global GAP standards in Luc Ngan district, the northern province of Bac Giang.
The lychees are packed in clear plastic boxes with traceability stamps of the Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, allowing consumers to quickly look up the origin of the product.
To ensure the taste of the lychee, the fruits were transported by air from the Noi Bai International Airport to the UK’s Heathrow airport.
Thai Tran, Operation Manager of Meridian, said the UK has very high requirements on quality, design and technical standards for imported farm produce, so his company and other partners had to make very careful preparations for the batch of fruit.
He added that with the UK-Vietnam FTA, there are more chances for Vietnamese farm produce to enter this market, but Vietnamese producers and exporters have to pay attention to the market’s standards in order to gain and maintain a foothold there.
The Bac Giang lychee trademark is currently protected in eight countries: China, the US, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Laos, and Cambodia.
Earlier, in March, it became the first Vietnamese farm produce to receive geographical indication protection in Japan, paving the way for it to navigate other promising markets.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Anh Duong said Bac Giang has identified three scenarios for selling lychees this year while working closely with foreign partners and cities, provinces, and merchants to sell other farm produce.
Over 1,500 trucks together with workers are ready to transport and sell lychees, he went on. Sales have proceeded smoothly so far.
Bac Giang’s lychee output is estimated at 180,000 tonnes this year. As of June 7, more than 53,000 tonnes had been sold at home and abroad.
On the occasion, a ceremony was also held to announce a certificate of geographical indication from Japan for Luc Ngan lychees, while stalls selling local lychees were also launched on domestic and foreign e-commerce platforms.
The Prime Minister has tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade with removing difficulties in the consumption of agricultural products, especially lychee, for Bac Giang province that is now the country’s COVID-19 hotspot.
Accordingly, the ministry will hold working sessions with the northern province, dubbed as Vietnam’s “lychee kingdom,” to set forth plans on lychee purchase and consumption.
At the same time, it needs to step up activities to boost domestic consumption and export, while closely coordinating with relevant ministries, agencies and localities to facilitate the circulation of the fruit.
COVID-19 prevention and control regulations must be always observed, the PM stressed.
According to the provincial People’s Committee, Bac Giang has 28,100 ha of lychee this year, with a total output of some 180,000 tonnes, up 15,000 tonnes from the previous year. The main lychee harvest season will begin in mid-June.
Lychees grown in the province, are soon to be sold on e-commerce platforms at home and abroad, including Alibaba and Amazon. The province also bolsters online purchases on websites such as dacsanlucngan.vn and vaithieubacgiang.vn.
Vietnamese lychees have made a noise in the year since they first arrived in Japan. Initially introduced at the AEON supermarket chain in June 2020, lychees have been bought by Japanese consumers and also the local Vietnamese community. Many Japanese customers have praised the freshness of the lychees and bought for their families and friends./.