Vietnam’s lychee season runs for just six weeks, but with more than 60 per cent of the country’s crop exported to China, political tensions between the two nations can lead to a volatile trading season, reports Agence France Presse (AFP).
Last year saw political tension rise over China’s building projects on islands in disputed territories in the South China Sea, which had implications for fruit trade, with some traders in Vietnam telling AFP that lychee consignments were left to rot at borders.
This season, Vietnamese exporters are looking to diversify their lychee markets, with Australia, France and the US open to Vietnamese lychees for the first time.
“Vietnam could have a real breakthrough in the export of lychees in coming years,” Mau Xuan, CEO of exporter Red Dragon told AFP, adding that there are opportunities to build exports to the US and Australia if Vietnamese exporters focus of food security and meeting the high standards for fresh produce in the two countries.
First lychees arrive in Australia
The first shipments of Vietnamese lychees arrived in Australia on 12 July, after gaining access in May, 12 years after the Vietnamese industry first applied for access.
“It is terrific that Australian consumers will have the opportunity to try these delicious fruit during the 2015 season,” said Hugh Borrowman, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam. “I am sure that they will enjoy this high quality and flavoursome product - just like Vietnamese consumers enjoy eating Australian fruits such as table grapes, citrus and cherries.”