After 10 years of negotiation, Vietnam has finally been the only export country permitted to sell star apple to the United States, one of the pickiest markets worldwide.The deal hasshowed beyond doubt that the Southeast Asia country’s fruits are now able to meet even the strictest qualifications.

It can be said that the first shipment of star apples to the United States by lateDecember, 2017 tookVietnam 10 years constantly negotiatingto get permission of the United States’ Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Huynh Van Tho, a farmer in Chau Thanh district, Tien Giang province said: “We farmers are delighted that our star apples now are eligible to export to the United States as the price thereby could hike”.

However, standards on food safety and hygiene could be a challenge, pushing farmers to improve production method, Tho said.

The 10-year period has witnessed all-out efforts by not only government authorities but also farmers. Time changed, more than 3000 farmers also know how to adapt by participating in preparedness training courses for exporting star apples to the United States. Meeting American partners’ requirements has not only earnedfarmers a comparable income but also changed farmers’ mindset.

The fruit’s export to America also brings about a long term benefitthat farmers’ awareness has been raised”, said Cao Van Hoa, Acting Director of the Tien Giang’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Hoa said, now the farmers pay more attention to hygienic production and how to meet requirements and standards of the partner markets, including the choosy United States.

According to experts, the change in mindset may result in improvements in exporting many fruits other than mangoes and star apples.

Nguyen Hong Son, Head of Crop Production Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said: “We can be sure that Vietnamese commodities have had considerable improvements; and that many of them have been accepted by overseas markets, even the strictest ones”.

“It is a green light for us in improving the government’s roles of management and orientation and also quality of goods. Besides, by expanding to different markets, we may escape from the dependence on sole markets, which is quite risky”, Son added.

Tien Giang is now home to 1100 hectares of the fruit with 500 hectaresof Lo Ren Vinh Kim high yield star apples which produce some10,000tonnes each year.

In order to protect the name of the local star apples and retain export markets, Tien Giang province has asked specialized agencies to continue equip farmers with proper farming knowledge, especially the know-how to enter the United States market.-VNA