The fact that passion fruit and durian are officially exported to China is a great joy for many Vietnamese farmers and enterprises. Although the “door” of the world’s most populous market has opened, the challenge of product quality is the decisive factor.

Recently (July 7th), the Department of Plant Protection (MARD) announced that the General Department of Customs of China has agreed to pilot the import of Vietnamese passion fruit from July 2022. Passion fruit is the 10th fruit of Vietnam to be allowed to export to China, along with dragon fruit, watermelon, lychee, longan, banana, mango, jackfruit, rambutan, and mangosteen.

Preliminary process of passion fruit for export. (Photo: Internet)

According to the agreement on plant quarantine, the General Department of Customs of China allowed imports of Vietnamese fresh passion fruit through 7 border gates in Guangxi Province (China), including Huu Nghi Quan, Pò Chai, Bang Tuong Railway Station, Bang Tuong, Dong Hung, Long Bang, and Thuy Khau.

Statistics of the Department of Plant Protection show that passion fruit is being grown in 46 provinces and cities with an area of about 6,000 ha and an average output of 300,000 – 400,000 tonnes/year, concentrated mainly in the northern mountains and the Central Highlands.

After passion fruit, durian is the next fruit of Vietnam officially licensed for export to China under the Protocol signed on July 11. Specifically, Vietnamese durian will be imported through all Chinese border gates authorized by the General Department of China Customs to import fruits. When the durian arrives at the Chinese border gate, China customs will check the relevant documents and complete the quarantine inspection process.

Deputy Director of the Plant Protection Department (MARD) – Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Huong said that: In addition to the requirements of pre-export phytosanitary quarantine, the General Department of China Customs proposed that the growing areas and establishments packaging passion fruit and durian must be registered and approved by the General Department of China Customs and the Plant Protection Department. In particular, technical staff must be trained to control the entire production and packaging process.

“The General Department of China Customs and Plant Protection Department will issue codes of planting areas and packing facilities that meet the conditions as prescribed. Based on the results of the pilot export, the two parties will conduct an assessment of the import situation of Vietnamese passion fruit and durian as a basis for the next steps ” said Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Huong.

Standardization of planting areas, improvement of quality

With an area of 1,300 hectares of passion fruit and an output of about 27,0000 tonnes/year, Dak Nong province has 2/28 planting area codes and 2/4 packing area codes in operation.

After passion fruit, durian is the next fruit of Vietnam officially licensed for export to China. (Photo: Internet)

Deputy Director of the Agricultural Development Department of Dak Nong province – Mr. Nguyen Thien Chan said that: the Department is currently finalizing the dossier of passion fruit, requesting the Plant Protection Department to soon issue the local planting area code and a complete dossier to train local staffs, thereby, guiding enterprises to easily access the market.

Being optimistic about the bright future of durian export, Deputy Director of Chanh Thu Fruit Import and Export Co., Ltd. (Ben Tre) – Ms. Ngo Tuong Vy shared that China has been the largest import market of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits in general, and durian in particular.

Before this Protocol, durian could only be exported unofficially to China, exporting enterprises had to go through many intermediary stages, causing the price to rise, which means that profits would be less than official export.

Many experts commented that in Vietnam, there are not many areas of raw materials that meet the standards required by China. To be granted a planting area code is also a long process if looking back at the way durian and passion fruit are grown in Vietnam today.

Deputy Director of Export-Import Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) – Mr. Tran Thanh Hai said: The Chinese market has now changed a lot and the official game requires Vietnamese enterprises to understand to comply with regulations, build up stable quality to survive in this market.

Assoc. Dr. Pham Tat Thang – Senior Expert of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Trade Policy (Ministry of Industry and Trade) said that building a brand name for Vietnamese fruits to compete with Thai and Malaysian fruits is a big challenge. Because for these two countries, the export of durian and passion fruit to China has been going on for a long time, which means that their market share in the world’s most populous market has been guaranteed. This poses a major challenge for Vietnamese durian and passion fruit exporting enterprises in terms of competition.

Referring to solutions to support enterprises, Deputy Director of the Export-Import Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) – Mr. Tran Thanh Hai informed that the Ministry has organized conferences and seminars to propagate changes in policies of the Chinese market to enterprises and associations in time and fully.

However, to sustainably export to the Chinese market, in addition, to support from ministries and sectors, enterprises are required to adapt to market changes and improve production capacity, meeting the requirements of export.