May, 26 2012 08:59:28

Time ripe to expand in fruit-growing province

TIEN GIANG — Tien Giang, the province with the largest area under fruit, plans to further expand its fruit cultivation area and improve the quality of fruits to increase exports.

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province is seeking to increase the fruit-growing area from the current 70,00ha to 80,000ha by 2020, expanding output by a fifth to 1.2 million tonnes.

Tran The Ngoc, secretary of the provincial Party Committee, said to achieve this, priority would be given to zoning areas suitable for various kinds of fruit.

The province would also improve the quality of fruit strains and use advanced cultivation and post-harvest technologies, he said.

Genetics and bio-technology would also be gradually used, he said.

Last year the province's fruit output was worth VND3.2 trillion (US$152 million), accounting for 52 per cent of its total agriculture production.

Several fruits bring farmers profits of more than VND100 million per ha per year – like Lo Ren star apple and Hoa Loc mango.

In 2009 Hoa Loc mango received protection under the geographical indication regime.

The province has received the Global Good Agriculture Practices (Global GAP) certification for seven ha of its Lo Ren star apple in Vinh Kim District.

It has also received the Vietnamese Good Agriculture Practices (Viet GAP) certification for 30ha of Tan Lap pineapple, 16ha of Tan Phong rambutan, and 15ha of Nhi Qui longan.

But despite all the famous fruit brand names, fruit farming in the province faces several problems such as small scale and lack of planning, leading to uneven quality and small output, Ngoc said.

Management of fruit strains and post-harvest technologies remain backward, he said.

The lack of close co-operation among fruit farmers has precluded the setting up of co-operatives, which help them take the initiative in production and sales, he said.

To improve farmers' incomes, the province has identified seven speciality fruits like Hoa Loc mango, Lo Ren star apple, Ngu Hiep durian, Go Cong Barbados cherry, Tan Lap pineapple, Cho Gao dragon fruit, and Long Co Co grapefruit, and would focus on developing them, he said.

Tien Giang has been investing more than VND3.7 billion in a programme to support farmers replace aged fruit trees with high-quality strains to improve quality to boost exports.

Under the programme, 1.5 million Queen pineapple seedlings have been given to 50 households in the Dong Thap Muoi area in Tan Phuoc District.

The seedlings, worth a total of VND1.5 billion, have been planted in an area of 60ha.

The province is also helping farmers replace more than 1.5 million other old fruit trees by giving them for free high-quality, high-yield seedlings. — VNS

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