Prospects for sweet potato exports to China

VCN – Recently, China has granted certificates to 70 growing areas and 13 sweet potato packing facilities eligible for export to this country. China's export license for 70 growing areas and 13 packaging facilities in Vietnam will be an important boost for the export turnover of Vietnamese agricultural products to a large potential market.
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Opportunities for farmers and Vietnamese sweet potato products to gradually shift from unofficial to official export. Photo: ST
Opportunities for farmers and Vietnamese sweet potato products to gradually shift from unofficial to official export. Photo: ST

70 licensed sweet potato growers and 13 packers

According to the Plant Protection Department (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the Department has received a note from the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) announcing the results of the online inspection of Vietnamese sweet potato enterprises. Accordingly, there are 70 growing areas and 13 licensed sweet potato packing facilities.

From March 7 to March 10, 2023, a delegation of Chinese experts conducted an online inspection of sweet potato businesses for approval to export to China. In the future, the Chinese side is willing to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam to further promote the development of bilateral trade in sweet potatoes in particular and agricultural products in general.

Specifically, except for three selected enterprises subjected to the risk analysis inspection, Chinese experts conducted online checks for 20 packing facilities on the proposed list of Vietnam. Chinese experts confirmed that 13 out of 23 packing facilities met the requirements of the Protocol on quarantine requirements for sweet potato products.

The remaining 10 packing facilities still have some problems to overcome such as the management system is not up to the standards, the equipment is not complete, the specifications are not good or the facilities do not fully meet the protocol requirements.

Along with these 13 packing facilities, the list of 70 sweet potato growing areas eligible for export to China has been fully posted on the website of the Animal and Plant Quarantine Department, General Administration of Customs of China at: http://dzs.customs.gov.cn.

At the same time, the General Department of Customs of China also requested the Plant Protection Department, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to perform the pre-export quarantine work and guide enterprises to strictly comply with the requirements of the production and processing.

Implement a monitoring program with packing sites

Previously, the Protocol on phytosanitary requirements for sweet potatoes exported from Vietnam to China between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and GACC, published on November 22, 2022 – was considered an opportunity for Vietnamese farmers and sweet potato products to develop their products, increase economic value as well as gradually shift from unofficial to official export.

The signing of this Protocol to ensure the safety of Vietnam's sweet potato exports to China to be controlled on the basis of pest risk analysis. Specifically, sweet potato growing areas and packing facilities for export must be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and approved by GACC.

Areas where potatoes are exported to China must apply good agricultural practices (GAP) and during the cultivation process, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will monitor the quarantine objects that GACC is interested in. At the same time, they must implement effective control measures to minimize the level of harmful biological contamination.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development must develop and implement a formal monitoring program for the packer to monitor the processing (including cleaning and packaging), storage and transportation of sweet potatoes exported to China.

Accordingly, the packer must establish a complete traceability and quality management system to ensure the accurate traceability of sweet potatoes. Packers must classify sweet potatoes for export to China and remove products with disease spots, deformities, and tubers with symptoms of pests and diseases, wash them with water twice to remove impurities, and take appropriate measures. Other methods to ensure sweet potatoes are free of live insects, soil, and plant residues such as roots, leaves and other impurities.

As the focal point in guiding procedures, plant quarantine and negotiating the opening of the agricultural product market, the Plant Protection Department has implemented many positive and synchronous solutions right after approval.

According to Mr. Hoang Trung, Director of the Plant Protection Department, the Department has coordinated with GACC to jointly prepare conditions for export; including a list of applied documents about the growing area and sweet potato packing facility. At the same time, the Department also plans and commits to soon organize training courses on specific conditions for planting area codes, as well as some related technical requirements. The training object is the owner of the codes, the local professional staff in order to implement the overall supervision, and join hands to properly and fully comply with the quarantine requirements before transporting the goods to the border gate.

The Plant Protection Department will continue to coordinate and support local specialized agencies in propagandizing, disseminating, guiding and organizing implementation for businesses, cooperatives and residents.

Xuan Thao/ Thu Phuong

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