Previously, on August 7, 2023, the APHIS had completed updating the online database of agricultural goods import requirements (ACIR) to approve the import of fresh coconuts from Vietnam.
To get the above results, the APHIS and the Plant Protection Department had agreed on a pest risk analysis report for husked coconuts imported from Vietnam to the US. The two sides have confirmed that Vietnamese husked coconuts satisfy the processing criteria, and determined that fresh and young coconuts with their partly shell removed (at least 3/4 of the outer green shell), presenting a negligible risk of spreading plant pests.
Botanically, coconut is classified as a drupe. The coconut consists of the outer shell, the middle shell (fibrous husk) and the hard shell of the smaller coconut inside. The smaller inner coconut (also known as the coconut kernel) has a hard shell with woody texture, surrounding the kernel (endosperm) and the liquid (milk or water). Coconut kernel has three large and slightly sunken pores. The outer shell is glossy, usually green, yellow - green, or yellow - brown.
Thus, Vietnamese coconuts imported into the US can be in the form of coconuts with completely extracted outer shell and fibrous husk, or in the form of young coconuts having a minimum of 75% (3/4) of the outer green shell. The APHIS classifies the coconuts, with completely extracted outer green shell, as non-germinating and commercial coconuts. The coconut kernel and water inside can be edible, so the only plant inspection requirement for the shipments will occur at the US entry ports.
Currently, Vietnam's coconut industry has an important position in the world, with an area of over 188 thousand hectares. The area of Vietnamese coconut accounts for 1.67% of the world's area, and 2.07% of Asia's coconut area. The growth rate of Vietnam's coconut area is quite high. In 2010, Vietnam's coconut area ranked 6th in the world, and then, in 2021, Vietnam's coconut area ranked 5th in the world.
Coconut is a valuable and versatile crop, as parts of the coconut tree can be used to make many different products.
Coconut trees are a source of income for about 389,530 farmer households, and create export value of coconut and coconut products, which has reached over 900 million USD. Vietnam's coconut industry is ranked 4th in term of total value in the world coconut market.
Currently, there are about 854 enterprises manufacturing and processing coconut products nationwide, with many different types and sizes of activities such as processing coconut shells, dippers made of coconut shells, coconut kernel, and coconut water, etc., creating jobs for more than 15,000 workers.
Currently, there are also more than 90 enterprises exporting coconut products, of which 42 enterprises have exported deeply processed products.
In 2023, the coconut industry has strived to export coconut and coconut products, to reach over 1 billion USD.
Currently, Ben Tre is considered the coconut capital of the country. In Ben Tre, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, by the end of 2022, the province's total coconut area is over 78,000 hectares, marking an increase of 768 hectares; while the coconut area, which starts fruiting, is more than 71,400 hectares, with a total output estimated at about 688 million coconuts per year; in which the area growing coconuts for water is about 15,850 hectares, accounting for 20.3%; and the province's organic coconut reaches 17,200 hectares, it is estimated to reach more than 20,000 hectares of organic coconut by 2025, concentrating on industrial coconut production areas.
More than 70% of people in Ben Tre have their main income from coconut trees. Thanks to active technological innovation, the quality of coconut products has been improved, helping the industrial production value of coconut products reach about 3,300 billion VND per year, accounting for more than 12% of the industrial production value of the whole province.