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GAP to Facilitate Vietnamese Fruits Export: Experts
20 | 06 | 2007
Agricultural experts and Vietnamese fruit producers have urged the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry to set up a national program to help them acquire Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which is the most popular requirement on food safety by WTO countries.
GAP, thus, is acknowledged as the sole ticket for Vietnamese fruits to penetrate to the world market. Joseph Ekman, expert in foodstuff safety and hygiene from New South Wales State’s Agriculture Ministry said almost all of WTO countries presently import GAP-qualified fruits. He proposed Vietnam build up VietGAP or Vietnam GAP in line with ASEAN GAP
 
Professor Vo Tong Xuan, who is the chairman of Vietnam Agro-Seafood Products Trademark Building Club agreed with Australian expert, adding that relevant ministries should encourage local farmers and enterprises to employ VietGAP because it is the first step to meet ASEAN GAP and EurepGAP.
 
Meanwhile, Dr Nguyen Minh Chau, head of the Southern Fruit Research Institute, promised his institute can complete setting up VietGAP in a short time which will also require strict standards on food safety.
 
The Vietnam Fruit Association said it has repeatedly asked the MARD to build up VietGAP, but the ministry has not yet replied.
 
Several provinces in Vietnam have tried to apply GAP basing on EU standards like Binh Thuan with dragon fruit area and Mekong Delta enterprises with Son Tien GAP. The Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam has also donated Vinh Long USUS$40,000 to help growers of Nam Roi grapefruit growers apply EurepGAP.
 
Previously, the MARD sets target to earn USUS$500-700 million from fruit and vegetable exports in 2020 and USUS$1 billion in 2020.
 
However, experts said that the target is currently unfeasible unless GAP is applied.
GAP is aimed at ensuring products of high quality, safety and hygiene. Fruit is among key exports of Vietnam by 2010. In the future, earning from fruit outbound shipment is forecast to surpass that from staple rice.
 
Presently, Vietnam is earmarking more than 7 million hectares of land for rice cultivation, but only 1 million for coconut, rubber, coffee and tea and some 1.4 million ha for fruits, vegetables and flowers.
 
WTO countries annually import around USUS$103 billion worth of fruits and vegetable while spending only USUS$9.2 billion buying rice, according to Dr Nguyen Quoc Vong, expert in New South Wales’s Agriculture Ministry.


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