New Zealand to import dragon fruit

HA NOI  (VNS) — New Zealand and Viet Nam signed an agreement on the export of Vietnamese dragon fruit in Ha Noi yesterday.

Dragon fruit is cultivated in the southern province of Dong Nai's Xuan Loc District. Viet Nam is now the first and only country to receive approval to export dragon fruit to New Zealand. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh

New Zealand's Ambassador to Viet Nam Haike Manning and Nguyen Xuan Hong, general director of the Plant Protection Department of Viet Nam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, signed the Official Assurance Programme.

The programme sets out the procedures and activities to be implemented prior to the export of the cargo to ensure that the fresh dragon fruit exported from Viet Nam to New Zealand meet the import regulations for biosecurity and health requirements.

"I am delighted to announce that Viet Nam is now the first and only country approved for exporting dragon fruit to New Zealand. We don't import dragon fruit from any other country currently. I am sure the imports will start arriving on New Zealand's shores soon so that our consumers can start enjoying this wonderful tropical fruit," Ambassador Manning said.

Thanks to the Viet Nam-New Zealand Premium Fruit Variety Development Project, sponsored by New Zealand's official development assistance programme, a specific dragon fruit variety (LD5) has received legal protection. Another success of the project has been the sale of the licence for growing the fruit to a commercial farm.

This is the first time a fruit variety in Viet Nam has been legally protected in this manner. It demonstrates that legally protected fruit varieties can deliver premiums to producers through increased market recognition. New dragon fruit varieties being developed under the project will also be bred to be resistant to the canker disease.

Researchers from New Zealand's Plant and Food Research in collaboration with the Vietnamese Agricultural Research Institute successfully found ways to control the dragon fruit canker disease that has broken out across Asia, and these methods will be soon used across Viet Nam.

In 2011, Vietnamese mangoes were approved for export to New Zealand. The authorities in New Zealand authorities are currently working on a request to allow the export of Vietnamese rambutan to that nation.

At the end of 2013, the total bilateral goods trade increased from US$761.7 million to $926.8 million, a 21.7 per cent increase from 2012. New Zealand's imports from Viet Nam are more varied, with a steady growth of a number of food and beverage products, particularly coconuts, crustaceans and coffee.

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