Announcement information paper - commencement of a review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh longan fruit (Dimocarpus longan) from Vietnam

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, March 2018

The purpose of the Announcement Information Paper is to provide background information about the review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh longan fruit from Vietnam. Its intended audience is stakeholders with an interest in the risk analysis.

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​14 March 2018

The commencement of this risk analysis is in response to a request for market access for fresh longan fruit (Dimocarpus longan) from Vietnam to Australia. Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department (PPD) advised Australia in March 2017 that fresh longan fruit was Vietnam’s top priority for horticultural market access, and in the same communication submitted a valid market access request for fresh longan fruit into Australia.

There are two main types of risk analyses used by the department:

  • a Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis (BIRA) which is conducted through a regulated process provided for in the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the Biosecurity Regulation 2016, and
  • a non-regulated risk analysis, such as a review of biosecurity import requirements.

Australia has existing import policy for fresh longan fruit from China and Thailand. A preliminary assessment of the pests associated with fresh longan fruit from Vietnam has identified that the potential pests of quarantine concern are the same, or of the same pest groups, as those associated with Chinese and Thai longan fruit, as well as other fresh fruits from Vietnam for which Australia has established import conditions, such as for lychee and mango.

Given the similarity of pests of concern and that there are appropriate risk management measures already established for these pests or pest groups, the risk analysis for fresh longan fruit from Vietnam will be progressed as a review of biosecurity import requirements (a non‑regulated risk analysis), consistent with Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis Guidelines 2016.

Pathway to be assessed

The risk analysis will assess biosecurity risks associated with the importation of commercially‑produced fresh longan fruit (Dimocarpus longan) from Vietnam to Australia for human consumption. Fruit may be in bunch or loose form and may have stalk material but no leaf or branch material.

Longan

Longan fruit, also known as dragon eye fruit, belongs to the Sapindaceae family. The fruit is small and round in shape with rough tan coloured skin. Fruit are typically two centimetres in diameter and are typically harvested in panicle bunches. The fruit has a similar structure to other sapindaceous fruits such as lychee or rambutan. The edible part of the fruit is the transparent white or off‑pink aril flesh surrounding a large seed.

Longan industry in Vietnam

Fresh longan fruit production in Vietnam is typically based on small orchard production. In 1994, yields of eight to ten tonnes per hectare were reported in Vietnam. However, four to five tonnes per hectare in the north and six to eight tonnes per hectare in the south are also typical (PPD 2017).

Production of longan in Vietnam occurs throughout the country with major growing centres in the regions of the Cuulong (Mekong) River Delta, the Red River Delta, the Northeast and Northwest, the North Central Coast and South Central Coast, the Central Highlands and the Southeast regions. Further details of the longan production regions in Vietnam are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 Main longan production regions in Vietnam in 2014
RegionProduction area (ha)Production yield (tonnes)
Red river delta12900467290
Northeast and Northwest 2040082916
North central coast and South central coast270011067
Central Highland11006713
Southeast69004717
Cuulong (Mekong) river delta31100239315
Whole country75100515100

(PPD 2017)

Longan fruit is produced all year round in the southern regions of Vietnam, with production peaking in June and July. In the north of the country the main production season is from July to August with some newer cultivars able to be harvested through to early September. The main cultivars grown in Vietnam are Nhan Long and Nhan Cui in the northern regions and Nhan Long and Tieu Da Bo in the southern regions.

In 2014, Vietnam produced over 515,100 tonnes of fresh longan fruit. Vietnam currently exports longan to a number of countries including China and the United States of America.

Australian longan fruit imports

From commencement of trade in 2005 up until the present, Australia imported over 1,874 tonnes of fresh longan fruit from China and Thailand combined, with over 1,682 tonnes of that trade coming from Thailand.

Longan industry in Australia

In Australia, fresh longan fruit are often produced in the same orchards as lychee fruit. Production is primarily in tropical and south eastern Queensland as well as north eastern New South Wales (FAO 2002). The Australian longan industry is small and primarily focussed on domestic fresh fruit supply.

The main cultivars grown in Australia are Biew Kiew, Chompoo, Daw, Haew, Homestead and Kohala. Harvest season for Australian longan is usually between January and May (RIRDC 2001).

Trade between Australia and Vietnam

Total agriculture, fisheries and forestry exports to Vietnam in 2015-16 were valued at approximately $2.08 billion. Vietnam is a major market for Australian crustaceans, wheat and live animals.

Total agriculture, fisheries and forestry imports from Vietnam in 2015-16 were valued at approximately $623 million. Vietnam began exporting fresh dragon fruit to Australia in 2017.

Preliminary assessment of Vietnamese longan fruit

A preliminary assessment identified that the pests associated with fresh longan fruit from Vietnam do not pose different biosecurity risks to those associated with other horticultural commodities.

The preliminary assessment of the pests of fresh longan fruit in Vietnam indicates that the potential arthropod pests of quarantine concern that require further assessment are fruit flies (Bactrocera cucurbitae and B. dorsalis), fruit borer moths (Conopomorpha cramerella and C. sinensis), mealybugs (Dysmicoccus neobrevipes, Exallomochlus hispidus, Paracoccus interceptus, Planococcus lilacinus and Planococcus minor) and Longan soft scale (Drepanococcus chiton). Potential pathogens of quarantine concern are longan witches broom disease, Phytophthora litchii and P. palmivora.

It is likely that risk management measures will be required for fruit flies, mealybugs and fruit borer moths, as is the case for other horticultural commodities.

The quarantine pests associated with fresh longan fruit from Vietnam (as assessed to date) are expected to require similar risk management measures to those already used to control these pests on longan fruit from China and Thailand and lychee fruit from Vietnam.

Next steps

A draft report of this review of biosecurity import requirements is currently scheduled to be published on the department’s website, www.agriculture.gov.au, in mid-2018. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to submit comments on the draft report for a period of 60 days.

All comments will be assessed and, where relevant, amendments will be incorporated into the final report.

The recommendations in the final report will reflect the completion of the risk analysis for fresh longan fruit from Vietnam. The recommended measures will have been assessed as appropriate to manage any potential risks to Australia’s biosecurity presented by the import of fresh longan fruit from Vietnam.

If you would like to know more about this review or the risk analysis review process please email Plant stakeholders or phone +61 2 6272 5094.

References

FAO 2002, Lychee production in the Asia-Pacific region, 2002/04, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand, available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/ac684e/ac684e00.pdf. (pdf 508 kb)

PPD 2017, Technical market access submission: export of Vietnam longan fruit (Dimocarpus longan Lour.), Plant Protection Department (PPD), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam.

RIRDC 2001, Australian longans: market opportunity, identification and analysis of the domestic market, 01/25, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, available at https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/downloads/01-025.