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VN free from exploding watermelon threat

Update: May, 21/2011 - 10:34
A farmer in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang sells his newly harvested watermelons. There have been no local reports of watermelons exploding, which is thought to be caused by overuse of growth chemicals. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

A farmer in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang sells his newly harvested watermelons. There have been no local reports of watermelons exploding, which is thought to be caused by overuse of growth chemicals. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

HA NOI — There had been no reports of exploding watermelons in Viet Nam, according to Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Plant Protection Department Ngo Tien Dung.

The statement was made following recent news of a strange phenomenon sweeping China's Jiangsu Province.

Farmers using the growth hormone accelerator forchlorfenuron reported that their fruit had literally exploded overnight, resulting in the loss of up to 45 ha of produce.

Dung said that overuse of the hormone was probably the cause of the unexpected explosions.

The ministry has released a list of banned chemicals along with guidelines and regulations about how to use approved products.

Farmers should study these carefully for their own benefit and for consumer safety, he said.

In Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces, where more than 1,000 ha of watermelons are harvested annually including well-known trademarks such as An Tiem, Sugar Baby and Red Sun, agricultural experts and farmers said they had never seen crops explode.

Farmer Nguyen Van Viet from Bac Lieu Province's Vinh Phu Tay Commune said he and his fellow farmers mainly used organic fertilisers.

Nguyen Xuan Khoa, director of the provincial Agricultural Promotion Centre, said that around 100 training courses had been held to educate farmers about agricultural techniques.

Farmers were also applying modern methods, such as covering fruit with nylon, straw or crushed wood to improve productivity, he said. — VNS

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