|Nam Roi and buoi hong da xanh (green-peel and pink-flesh) grapefruits will be grown in more places in Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Ben Tre, Soc Trang and Hau Giang provinces and Can Tho city, taking the total area in the delta growing them to 36,000ha. — Photo motthegioi
HCM CITY (VNS)— The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta will grow two special grapefruit varieties on an additional 25,000ha by 2020, according to the Southwest Region Steering Committee.
Nam Roi and buoi hong da xanh (green-peel and pink-flesh) grapefruits will be grown in more places in Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Ben Tre, Soc Trang and Hau Giang provinces and Can Tho city, taking the total area in the delta growing them to 36,000ha.
Tien Giang, Vinh Long, and Ben Tre now account for 74 per cent of the two varieties in the delta.
Farmers growing them will be provided with loans to buy seedlings and other materials and trained in farming techniques, according to the committee.
The two varieties of grapefruit have fetched high prices for many years now because of high demand in foreign countries.
Farmers earn at least VND200 million (US$9,500) a year from a hectare of Nam Roi, according to local agriculture departments.
The green-peel and pink-flesh variety brings in double that. Farmers sell them to exporters in Ben Tre at VND36,000-38,000 ($1.7- 1.8) a kilogramme.
Hai So, who has switched from longan to green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit on his 1ha orchard in Quoi Son Commune in Ben Tre's Chau Thanh District, said the former could fetch an annual profit of VND100 million ($4,700) per hectare with bumper harvests and good prices, but the grapefruit fetches 5-6 times more. It also fruited all year round, he said.
In 2000 the Ben Tre Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Centre encouraged the commune to set up the Phu Hoa Co-operative Team with 34 members. It has since grown, and its 85 members grow green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit on a total area of 47.6ha.
Their fruits were bought by Huong Mien Tay, a fruit export firm in Ben Tre, So, who is a member of the co-operative team, said.
In 2010 members were taught how to grow the grapefruit to Vietnamese good agriculture practices (VietGAP) standards by the Southern Fruit Research Institute.
Since 2010 Huong Mien Tay has signed contracts every year with the co-operative team, thus guaranteeing an outlet for its produce.
Huong Mien Tay also signs contracts with 26 other co-operatives growing the fruit in Ben Tre.
It has built a refrigerated warehouse with a capacity of 1,400 tonnes that can keep the grapefruit for up to 60 days until they are exported.
Nguyen Van Xot, who has a half hectare orchard in Ben Tre's Mo Cay Bac District, said farmers no longer worried about traders pushing down prices since Huong Mien Tay buys all their green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruits.
Phan Van Khong, director of the Ben Tre Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Centre, said Huong Mien Tay did well to buy grapefruits, benefiting everyone in a co-operation programme involving authorities, farmers, enterprises, and scientists.
Of the 10,000ha under green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit in the region, Ben Tre accounts for 7,000ha. — VNS