As many as 500 kilograms of fresh lychees from Luc Ngan district in northern Bac Giang province will arrive at a French airport on the morning of June 4, the first export of its kind to the European country, the Vietnam Embassy in France's Trade Office has revealed.

The embassy’s Commercial Counsellor Nguyen Canh Cuong shared that his agency has launched the initiative of bringing Vietnamese lychees to France for almost a year since hearing of distribution difficulties facing growers back home due to heavy reliance on export to China.

He first learned that the fruit, which is normally imported to France from South Africa and Madagascar, is popular with French people. However, barriers lie in the importer’s requirements on plant quarantine and costly shipment.

Thanh Binh Jeune, a French-based importing business, has helped Vietnamese lychees find a foothold in the country through technical support and distribution chains in Paris and Lyon.

Michel Pierre, a French agricultural engineer who is currently in charge of a Madagascar’s project on lychee preservation and export to France and the EU, has come to Bac Giang and Hai Duong to transfer relevant lychee processing technology and to train local technicians.

If the first export gains a positive market response, Jeune will launch a second shipment within the month. The company expects to transport the goods by sea to cut costs when the processing technique allows the fruit to stay fresh for five weeks. Eight tones of lychee are hoped to reach French consumers this year.

According to Cuong, successful exports to France will pave the way for entering neighbouring markets.

He shared his wish that next year, Vietnamese lychee producers will expand their distribution network, and the technology transferred by Michel Pierre can help Vietnam boost other local fruit exports to the EU.-VNA