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Ben Tre Province: Export Opportunities for Coconuts to the US Market

Vietnam has approximately 200,000 hectares of agricultural land dedicated to coconut cultivation, producing around 2 million tons, primarily concentrated in coastal provinces in the Central and Mekong Delta regions, such as Tra Vinh and Ben Tre. The Plant Protection Department (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) reported that it received a letter from APHIS. On August 7, 2023, APHIS completed updating the online database "Agricultural Commodity Import Approval Report (ACIR)" to approve the import of Vietnamese young coconuts. At least 75% (3/4) of the coconut husk has been removed, and the green outer layer has been entirely eliminated. 

Vietnamese coconuts meet the demand in the U.S. market

Vietnamese coconuts meet the demand in the U.S. market
Vietnamese coconuts meet the demand in the U.S. market

According to the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Vietnamese producers can immediately start exporting desiccated coconuts to the U.S. APHIS has classified partially peeled coconuts as a processed product, requiring only a single plant inspection at U.S. entry ports. APHIS has informed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent any delays at U.S. ports of entry.

Exported coconuts to the U.S. must be without husk, have at least 75% of the coconut meat removed, and completely eliminate the outer green husk. Previously, the U.S. assessed the risk of pests related to fresh Vietnamese coconuts, concluding that 43 identified pest species were not likely to accompany fresh coconuts exported from Vietnam to the U.S.

Currently, the coconut industry in Vietnam holds a significant position globally, with an area of over 188,000 hectares. Vietnam's coconut area represents 1.67% of the world's coconut cultivation and 2.07% of coconut cultivation in Asia. Vietnam has experienced notable growth in coconut cultivation, ranking sixth globally in 2010 and rising to the fifth position by 2021. In 2022, Vietnam's coconut export turnover reached $900 million, making it the fourth-largest exporter of coconut products in the Asia-Pacific region. If products using coconut-derived materials are included in the statistics, the coconut industry could be classified as part of the "billion-dollar" export category.

Proactively Managing Ben Tre's Coconut Material Sources after Fresh Coconuts Enter the US Market

Mr. Huynh Quang Duc, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ben Tre province, stated that after the US market opened its doors to fresh coconuts, the province's agricultural sector implemented various policies to ensure sustainable and efficient development of mainstream coconut exports. Ben Tre province is committed to enhancing the transfer of technology, providing guidance, and regularly updating information for coconut farmers and businesses to understand and comply with the standards and regulations for export mainstream products. Regular inspections and monitoring of adherence to standards, management requirements for planting areas, and packaging facilities are conducted in accordance with regulations.

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