Vietnamese lychees make it to Singapore supermarket shelves

By Dat Nguyen   July 2, 2020 | 04:30 am PT
Vietnamese lychees make it to Singapore supermarket shelves
A farmer prepares to transport lychees on a motorbike in Luc Ngan District, Bac Giang Province in June 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Vietnamese lychees, exported to Japan for the first time last month, are now being sold by Singapore’s largest retail chain, FairPrice.

FairPrice, which accounts for a 70 percent market share, is selling lychees sourced from the northern Bac Giang Province for SGD5 ($3.6) per kilogram, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in that country.

Fifty tons have been shipped so far, half of the volume contracted for export this year. Some outlets ran out of stock within two weeks, the trade office said.

Vietnam has been working to export the fruit to Singapore since 2018, but in the last two years lychees were only sold in outdoor markets without proper preservation, causing them to rot quickly and discouraging importers.

In future supply could be a challenge. Singapore buys the same lychees that are grown for exporting to Japan, and there would not be enough for it and when the latter increases its demand.

Vietnamese producers also need to improve packaging and preservation since there are many rotten fruits when shipments arrive in Singapore, the trade office said, adding this could be a challenge in future.

Vietnam last month exported fresh lychees to Japan after five years of negotiations and preparations to meet quality standards. An estimated 200 tons will be shipped there this year.

Bac Giang, a lychee growing hub, is set to harvest 700 tons of lychees this year, and also eyes exports to the U.S. and Australia.

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