Fresh mango fruit imports from Vietnam have officially been licensed to enter the continental United States, the Plant Protection Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said on Monday.
Mango is the sixth fruit of Vietnam to be able to reach consumers in the U.S., following dragon fruit, rambutan, longan, litchi and star apple.
Negotiations for the exportation of Vietnamese mangoes to the U.S. had been ongoing for nearly ten years before the exporting country got the permission to begin shipping the tropical fruits to the States.
In December 2017, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was assigned to conduct pest risk analysis and prepare treatment methods and dosage for Vietnamese mangoes before accepting the fruits into the country.
Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department applied for a license to export fresh mangoes to the U.S. in 2009.
In order to get the export permission, mango production areas in Vietnam must comply with farm food safety requirements set by the U.S., according to the Plant Protection Department. The same criteria are also required for mango packing plants.
The fruit must also be treated by irradiation methods to be eligible for sale in the U.S. market, a requirement that is also applied for the export of the other five Vietnamese fruits to the States.
With the official license granted, Vietnamese exporters are working with local plant quarantine agencies to complete final preparations before shipping Vietnamese mangoes to the U.S., according to Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T, a company which specializes in importing and exporting farm produce.
It is expected that the first batch of mangoes will leave Vietnam for the U.S. in the next ten days, Tung said.
Vietnamese mangoes are able to be on sale at competitive prices in the U.S., as they can be shipped by sea, thus reducing transportation cost, Tung added.
Among the most demanding markets that import Vietnamese fruits, the U.S. is the biggest one in terms of import volume, with American consumers favoring dragon fruit, rambutan, longan, and recently apple star.
The United States imports nearly 400,000 metric tons of fresh mangoes annually from Central America and South America while the country’s domestic mango production modestly reaches about 3,000 metric tons per year, according to fruit exporters.
Currently, Vietnam has about 87,000 hectares of mango plantations with an output of approximately one million metric tons a year. While Vietnam ranks 13th in the world for mango production, the country’s export quantity remains modest.
Apart from the U.S., Vietnamese mangoes have been exported to Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.