Vietnam unique lychee market in full swing

An annual lychee market held in Luc Ngan district of the northern province of Bac Giang is regularly bustling with trade each June, with the locality also serving to send shipments to provinces nationwide and several markets worldwide.

Online trading floor boosts post COVID-19 lychee consumption

The launch of an online trading floor specifically for lychee products from Bac Giang province will offer a pathway for other Vietnamese agricultural products to make inroads into foreign markets in the future, according to trade officials.

At present, Bac Giang lychees have successfully been able to penetrate a number of demanding markets globally, with the brand name being protected in eight countries. 

While mid-May usually marks the harvest season for Bac Giang lychees, lasting until the end of July, the province is home to a total growing area of 28,000 hectares and is able to produce an output of between 150,000 and 200,000 tonnes each year.

Most notably, the province has applied locally and internationally recognised farm management practices, with 15,000ha of the lychee growing area meeting VietGAP standards and 218ha meeting GlobalGAP standards. The US, Japan and China have granted their own codes to many lychee growing areas in the province.

"Along with ensuring a consistent product quality, Bac Giang has also paid special attention to applying good farming practices and improving food safety standards," said Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

"Following these improvements, Bac Giang lychees have swiftly become a local specialty, while making forays into several demanding markets and having their trademark protected in eight countries," noted Doanh.

To boost local and overseas consumption amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Bac Giang recently collaborated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in organising a teleconference aimed at promoting lychee consumption during the remainder of the year.

The conference linked Bac Giang with 61 sites in cities and provinces nationwide, along with four locations in China, attracting the participation of over 2,300 delegates.

During a recent visit to Bac Giang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc cut the ribbon, marking the first shipment of lychees to be delivered to both the domestic and foreign markets.

Lai Thanh Sơn, vice chairman of the Bac Giang administration, said that many local and foreign firms have registered to purchase and export Bac Giang lychees, with trade procedures being conducted in a smooth manner.

"Bac Giang province is fully committed to creating optimal conditions in which to support lychee growers, businesses, as well as domestic and foreign traders, in all stages, from harvest to processing and sales," Son stressed.

Over the past years, Chinese businessmen and local growers have maintained long-lasting relationship, even during the challenging time of the the COVID-19 pandemic at present.

According to a business representative in Pingxiang, Guangxi, the Bac Giang lychee brand has become very popular in China, with its products selling well in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen among others.

In an effort to facilitate the consumption of lychee products, competent authorities believe that businesses and traders should gradually shift their export of lychees from unofficial channels at border gates to official channels that fully complies with standards regarding the quality of items, origin traceability, food hygiene and safety standards, along with labels and packaging.

Lao Cai and Lang Son, the two provinces bordering China, have worked with Chinese authorities and they vowed to create favourable conditions to facilitate administrative and customs clearance procedures for shipments at the border gates,

Aside from the Chinese market, Bac Giang province continues to co-ordinate with the Central Retail Group to export Luc Ngan lychees to Thailand. It plans to display the products on the shelves of Tops supermarkets and the Central Food Hall in an attempt to market the products among consumers in Bangkok.

"Our main objective is to consume 1,000 tonnes of lychees this year, representing a three-fold increase compared to last year," said Nguyen Thi Phuong, Deputy General Director of Central Retail Group, "We will also choose delicious and high-quality products to introduce to Thai consumers later this year."

Do Thang Hai, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, affirmed that in order to elevate the value of Vietnamese lychees, the ministry is launching a communication campaign focusing on the overall quality and health benefits of lychees. It is also collaborating with Vietnamese representative agencies and enterprises overseas to promote lychee exports in important markets such as China, Singapore, Australia, and Japan.

To take advantage of information technology in the era of Industry 4.0, Bac Giang province has also launched its own electronic trading floor for local lychee products.

Vu Ba Phu, Director General of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the online trading floor will provide a model for other agricultural products like mangoes, watermelons, and longans to follow in order to penetrate foreign markets in the future.

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Luc Ngan district in Bac Giang province has been previously dubbed the ‘kingdom of lychee’ as it is home to the largest lychee harvest area in the country.

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Farmers often wake up at around 4am in order to harvest lychee and then to sell them on to traders.

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Due to the hot weather during summertime, traders only collect lychees in the morning, so farmers have to go out at the crack of dawn in order to harvest the items.

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A local farm grows approximately 200 lychee trees which are over 15 years old. Indeed, his family has plans to collect roughly four tonnes of lychee, although the consistent hot weather has seen a reduction in terms of both volume and overall quality.

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The most beautiful and ripe lychees available are carefully selected by the farmer and then bundled into clusters, with each one weighing up to four kg.

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Each year typically sees the lychee harvest season in Luc Ngan district begin in late May and conclude in early July.

 
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It is common for traders to transport lychees to major markets in Bac Giang province in order to reach new customers.

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Moreover, motorbike drivers are actively involved in transporting the fruit to neighbouring areas.

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Lychees do a brisk trade at a bustling market in Bac Giang province.

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The market has been fully decorated in red, making it appear hotter than ever during the summer months.

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The entire market stretches for dozens of kilometres along national road 279, with thousands of motorbikes queuing with lychee baskets weighing between 200 and 250kg each.

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Quality lychees are selected and then traded on site at between VND13,000 and VND17,000 per kg.

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Lychees are carefully packed before being exported, with China emerging as one of the biggest consumers of Vietnamese lychee.

VOV

 
 

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