Vietnamese exporters has been given permission to export dragon fruit to the US for irradiation.

Exporters can now choose whether to irradiate the fruit in the US or in Vietnam. Irradiation technology protects fruits and vegetables by killing harmful pests and diseases, keeping them fresh up to 30 days.

The first shipments of dragon fruit from Vietnam are approved for arrival in the US on September 20.

Nguyen Huu Dat, Director of the Post Import Quarantine Centre under the Plant Protection Department, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said dragon fruit was the first and only fruit to be exported from Vietnam to the US for irradiation so far.

He explained the unprecedented allowance resulted from the strong reputation for quality that Vietnam's dragon fruit enjoys in the US.

Dat said that this was an opportunity to promote and expand the market for Vietnam's dragon fruit because meeting US requirements means Vietnam's dragon fruit will be likely to satisfy the requirements of any country.

Earlier this year, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted a patent to the dragon fruit grown in the central province of Binh Thuan, recognising the brand name and image of Binh Thuan's dragon fruit.

The recognition from a prestigious US office will help Binh Thuan's Dragon Fruit carve out a niche among fastidious US consumers.

Binh Thuan province is now at the peak of its harvest time, and the price of the fruit has increased between 30 and 40 per cent compared to the same period last year.

India and Thailand were also given permission to export dragon fruit to the US for irradiation.-VNA