Vietnamese lychee exports grounded by conflicting inspection regulations

By Bui Hong Nhung, Nguyen Hoai   June 8, 2016 | 03:27 am PT
Vietnamese lychee exports grounded by conflicting inspection regulations
Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Vietnam’s lychees have broken into overseas markets such as Australia, the U.S. and Japan, but it’s still difficult for local firms to export their fruit due to complicated inspection procedures.

Dang Thi Thanh Hai from Hoang Ha International Logistics said the company has asked for support from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam after being tossed back and forth between authorities to handle irradiation procedures (to keep lychees fresh for a longer duration) and security checks for half a month.

“Frankly, we don’t know which state agency is responsible for these procedures because everyone we have contacted has said that there’s no mechanism for them to follow. In the end, we went to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam,” said Hai.

Hai said that last year, they had to transport lychees to Ho Chi Minh City for irradiation. This year, another irradiation center has been built in Hanoi, but inspection procedures remain complex.

“Australia requires each batch of Vietnamese lychees to have irradiation stamps. If these stamps are lost or torn, then the batch will be rejected.” Hai added.

The representative also said that Noi Bai International Airport requires security checks for lychees, but this means the irradiation stamps are torn.

“We want authorities conduct security inspections at the irradiation center or arrange a place for both services to facilitate lychee exports.”

In response, Pham Tuan Anh, deputy director of Noi Bai Airport, said they will try their best to support Vietnamese firms but security checks must be carried out at the airport. Another official from the General Department of Vietnam Customs said they are working with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to send staff to the irradiation center for security inspections.

To boost Vietnam’s lychee exports, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has decided not to charge quarantine fees for lychees. Vietnam Airlines has also announced it will cut freight fees by 30 percent for lychees the airline transports to Australia.

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