Thailand sees bright prospects for pomelo among Japanese fruit lovers

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BANGKOK, Sept 28 — Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Theera Wongsamut was confident that “Som O”, or pomelo, will win a following among Japanese fruit lovers in the near future after the Japanese government has given permission to import the giant citrus fruit.

Mr Theera said that the ‘Thong Dee’ pomelo was approved by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and it was permitted to be imported to the Japanese market in April this year after the Thai Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry continued to improve the quality and standards set by Japanese authorities in 2005.

The Thai minister said that the kingdom’s fruit exports to Japan are relatively small. There are only eight types of fruit that have passed Japan’s high standards, which involve complicated processes to eliminate all insects.

They are mango, mangosteen, durian, banana, pineapple, green coconut, salak plum and sweet tamarind.

Mr Theera said that he believed the Thong Dee pomelo would become a favourite among Japanese gourmands, with a loyal following similar to aficionados of the eight types of Thai fruit earlier exported to Japan.

He said the Thong Dee pomelo taste was both sweet and sour with a colourful appearance. It was also healthy fruit as it was full of vitamin A, B, calcium and phosphorus. These would be preferable for Japanese consumers, he said.

The minister said Thai fruits exported to Japan were of premium grade and that steam-heating treatment is used to control pesticides so that the Japanese consumers are confident that Thai fruits have both a good taste and are of high standard.