Bac Giang to boost domestic lychee consumption due to export difficulties

Bac Giang, Vietnam's lychee growing hub, is switching from export of the fruit to selling in the domestic market due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
May 27, 2021 | 14:20
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Bac Giang to boost domestic lychee consumption due to export difficulties
Vietnam ranks third worldwide for the volume of lychee with approximately 380,000 tons/year. Photo The Times

Bac Giang has 28,100 hectares under the fruit, and expects to harvest 180,000 tons this year, up 8 percent from 2020, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

According to Luc Ngan vice chairman Nguyen The Thi, around 67,000 tons grown in the district would be sold for domestic consumption, 23,000 tons would be used for dry lychee processing, and only 32,000 tons would be exported.

Bay, who has a two-hectare lychee orchard in Giap Son village, Luc Ngan District, said: "I used to sell 4-5 tons of lychees a day in previous years, but now I only sell half as much."

She said Chinese traders are unable to visit to buy lychees as they normally do since Bac Giang is one of provinces worst hit by the pandemic.

She now relies greatly on selling to the province cooperative, and hopes the pandemic would soon be under control and Chinese traders could come again during the main harvest season between mid-June and the end of July, VnExpress reported.

Bac Giang to boost domestic lychee consumption due to export difficulties
Harvesting lychees at night in Bac Giang province. Photo TravelMag
Bac Giang to boost domestic lychee consumption due to export difficulties
Bac Giang has 28,100 hectares of lychees. Photo TravelMag
Bac Giang to boost domestic lychee consumption due to export difficulties
Workers pack Vietnamese fresh lychees. Photo Tuoi Tre

Another lychee farmer in Luc Ngan District, Sinh, said prices are lower than usual.

"Prices on the first day of harvest this year were 20,000-25,000 VND (0.86-1.08 USD) per kilogram, 10,000 VND less than last year."

He attributed the drop to the smaller number of buyers in the absence of Chinese traders.

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said on May 25 that the ministry will facilitate domestic consumption, export, and e-commerce.

The ministry held a meeting with Bac Giang’s authorities following the request made by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh who said that the ministry needs to take all measures to facilitate the consumption as lychee gives high economic values.

The discussions were crucial for Bac Giang which tops the country for the number of Covid-19 infections in the fresh wave of coronavirus with 1,400 cases.

According to Chairman of the Bac Giang People’s Committee Le Anh Duong, Bac Giang has more than 28,000 ha, mostly in Luc Ngan district, yielding around 180,000 tons in this season that lasts from May 20 to July 20.

Duong said the lychee turnover likely reaches 7 trillion VND ($304 million USD).

Bac Giang to boost domestic lychee consumption due to export difficulties
A woman carries lychees to the market for sale. Photo TravelMag
Bac Giang to boost domestic lychee consumption due to export difficulties
Bac Giang is switching from export of the fruit to selling in the domestic market. Photo VNA

Speaking to VnExpress, Nguyen Van Phuong, deputy director of the Bac Giang Department of Industry and Trade, said his agency has worked with Chinese traders and local lychee exporters, and decided trucks with the fruits from Bac Giang would gather one kilometer from the China border for disinfection.

The Chinese would then take the trucks and drive them to a spot to load the fruits in their vehicles, he said.

"Each batch of goods will have a QR code to provide information about the production area, farmers, preservation, and shipping progress."

In early May, the Ministry of Public Security agreed to allow the entry of 190 Chinese traders to buy lychee in Bac Giang. China is the traditional market of Luc Ngan lychee.

To keep the lychee hub safe from Covid-19, Luc Ngan has set up checkpoints at the entrance gates to tighten control on visitors, mostly traders and workers coming for lychee transactions. The local authorities will also disinfect all lychee batches before the shipment. Visitors have their temperature checked and need to provide medical declarations at the checkpoints, while vehicles are disinfected.

A checkpoint has been set up in Luc Ngan district to s
A checkpoint has been set up in Luc Ngan district to tighten control on traders and workers coming for lychee transactions. Photo Tuoi Tre

Bắc Giang Province People’s Committee last week issued a plan for lychee sale to prevent any disruptions caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specifically, three scenarios were developed, corresponding to the development of the pandemic in the province.

In the first scenario in which the pandemic was put under control, the province expects that 50 per cent would be sold in the domestic market and the rest exported to markets including China, Japan, Australia, Thailand, the US and the European Union.

In the second scenario in which the pandemic continued to develop, domestic sales would account for 70 per cent and 30 per cent would be exported. Sale on e-commerce platforms would be promoted, together with increasing processing.

If the export was frozen as in the third scenario, the domestic sale would be promoted with a focus on wholesale markets, supermarkets, e-commerce websites and processing companies.

The provincial Department of Industry and Trade is providing support to enterprises and cooperatives to bring farm produce online to the province’s e-commerce platform http://www.san24h.vn and others like Lazada, Shopee, Tiki and Alibaba.

Bắc Giang Province also said that it got a nod from the Government to allow 190 traders from China to enter Việt Nam via Hữu Nghị Border Gate in Lạng Sơn Province to purchase lychee. These traders would have to practise 21-day quarantine at designated hotels./.

Vietnam’s lychee has been shipped to more than 30 countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, the US, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Luc Ngan lychee has been awarded geographical indication (GI) by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the first product of Vietnam to win such certification in Japan.

Vietnam ranks third worldwide for the volume of lychee with approximately 380,000 tons/year, behind China with two million tons/year and India 677,000 tons/year.

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Rosemary Nguyen

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