US plant quarantine expert to arrive in Vietnam on September 2 hinh anh 1A farmer harvests rambutan, which is one of the six Vietnamese fruits licensed to enter the US market (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - An expert from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam on September 2 to continue monitoring the treatment of fruit destined for the country, which recently underwent a hiatus due to COVID-19.

The expert will first be quarantined, in line with regulations, according to the Plant Protection Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Facing difficulties from the coronavirus outbreak, the US recalled many of its staff in March, including those at the APHIS, in Vietnam. APHIS employees, however, are in charge of monitoring the handling of fruit at the HCM City-based Son Son irradiation centre - the only Vietnamese irradiation facility recognised by APHIS.

While waiting for US plant quarantine experts, the Plant Protection Department worked with the US Embassy in Vietnam, asking it to send a staff member to monitor fruit irradiation to maintain exports.

The resumption of plant quarantine monitoring did not last for long, though, as this person was not specialised in the field. The irradiation and export of fruit to the US was suspended from August 7 to 21 as a result, the Plant Protection Department said.

Its data shows that Vietnam shipped over 6,000 tonnes of fruit to the US in 2019 and more than 3,000 tonnes in the first half of 2020, up slightly against the same period last year.

Six Vietnamese fruits have been licensed to enter the market: dragon fruit, rambutan, longan, lychee, custard apple, and mango./.