The first tonne of fresh Vietnamese lychee has been exported to Japan, arriving on 20 June via airfreight, according a report published by Nhan Dan.

A further four tonnes were shipped at the same time (18 June) with a total 200 tonnes of fresh Vietnamese lychee expected to reach the Japanese market this year.

The successful export is a considerable achievement for the two countries, after Japan granted access to Vietnam in late 2019, following five years of negotiations.

Last month, it was reported authorities from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had been unable to visit and certify treatment facilities as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

This led many to believe the export programme for fresh Vietnamese lychees to Japan would have to wait until 2021.

However, news of the first consignment arriving has helped reaffirm the value of Vietnam’s agricultural products in Japan, and given the country's lychee industry a much needed boost following reportsbusiness had been impactedby the pandemic.

Vietnamese trade counsellor in Japan, Ta Duc Minh, said the Japanese market is not a large lychee importer, but it still has great development potential as most Japanese consumers are not familiar or do not know much about lychee, its taste or how to eat it.

He stressed the extreme need to enhance the promotion of Vietnamese lychee to Japanese people so that they may learn more about such a tasty fruit.

Fresh Vietnamese lychee will be available to consumers via AEON Supermarkets, and at focal points of importers including VIENT Corporation, Yufruit and Sunrise Farm.

The two countries are expected to continue organising lychee promotions in the Japanese market and introducing technologies in fresh lychee preservation, steam treatment, sterilisation and transportation.