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Australia progresses market access for Vietnamese dragon fruit PDF Print
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 12:21

VIETRADE - Dragon fruit is grown in Queensland, the Northern Territory, and parts of Western Australia and New South Wales. Most of the farms are small scale and supply to the local market only. Producers in the Northern Territory (the major production area) also supply fruit to interstate markets. Australia does not currently import fresh dragon fruit for human consumption. However, Australia already has established conditions for the importation of seed (for sowing) and nursery stock of some varieties of dragon fruit into Australia.


Since Australia commenced work on market access for fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam into Australia in the early of 2015, the two countries have made a lot effort to finalize trading agreement through work on the assessment and review process, which is undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. There are three principal steps in this process.  Particularly, the department will:


1. Conduct a review of scientific knowledge of pests and diseases of concern and release an Announcement Information Paper. Stakeholders can provide comments on the Announcement Information Paper at any time during the review process.

2. Prepare a draft report outlining the identified risks and proposed risk mitigation measures. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide written comments and submissions on the draft report over a 60 calendar day consultation period.


3. Consider stakeholder comments and prepare a final report.


Accordingly, a group of Australian experts and inspectors visited dragon fruit farms in Vietnam in June 2015 for a first-hand evaluation; an announcement Information Paper for the review of biosecurity import requirements for dragon fruit from Vietnam was released on 20 April 2016; and a draft report to public for comments and discussion already finished the 60-day waiting period for feedback and discussion by 14 November 2016. A final report to be released is expected to finish by the end of 2016 and the first shipments of fresh dragon fruit from Vietnam are hoped to reach Australian shores by 2017, according to the announcement.


Australia accepts imports only when the country is confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia. Importation of Vietnamese dragon fruit into Australia will be a commercial decision between an Australian importer and a Vietnamese supplier, who can meet the import conditions.


Dragon fruit is favored for exports thanks to its long preserving term (40 days) and low cost of transportation by sea route (0.2-0.3 USD per kilogram). Production of dragon fruit in Vietnam was mainly in the southern provinces of Binh Thuan, Long An, Tien Giang, Kien Giang, Binh Phuoc, and Tay Ninh, but production had expanded to the northern provinces as well. According to a press release published by the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, fresh dragon fruit is one of the agricultural products given top priority to access Australia. In 2015, Vietnam exported over one million tons of dragon fruit. In the first six months of 2016, Vietnam sold 4,610 tons of fruit in foreign markets, 72 percent of which was dragon fruit. More than 491 tons of Vietnamese dragon fruits were exported to the US, Japan and South Korea last April.


According to the draft, if the Australian Government goes through with the plan, Vietnamese dragon fruit will be the country’s second major tropical fruit export, after lychees, to enter the Australian market.  If access is granted, it is expected that exports to Australia would take place during the peak harvest period between May and September 2017.

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