HCM CITY (VNS)— The area under coconut cultivation in Ben Tre Province has increased in the past two years thanks to stable prices, according to the deputy chairman of the provincial People's Committee.
Speaking to Viet Nam News on the sidelines of "the Viet Nam Coconut – Value and Prospects" seminar held in HCM City yesterday, Tran Anh Tuan said profits from coconut cultivation had been better than other crops.
"Intercropping coconuts with other trees like citrus fruits and cocoa can offer farmers 50 per cent higher profits than a coconut monoculture," he said.
The province has about 65,000 ha of coconuts, yielding about 450,000 to 500,000 tonnes per year.
Most coconut products are consumed in the domestic market for confectionery and industrial processing.
Enterprises have exported a significant amount of copra, canned coconut milk and coconut water and other coconut-based products to the EU, North America and Middle East.
The province earns about US$200 million from exports of fresh coconuts and coconut-based products each year, accounting for one-third of the province's total export revenue.
Coconut processing firms in the province had invested in production technology in an effort to raise their product quality as well as increase the export of high value-added products, Tuan said.
In addition, the province had implemented programmes to help farmers increase their coconut productivity, connect farmers with businesses, and support firms in upgrading their production chain.
These measures were expected to enable the provincial coconut industry develop in a sustainable manner, he said.
In the wake of climate change, coconut trees would become more common and popular since they are more adaptable to such changes than other trees.
Cao Ba Dang Khoa, deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Coconut Association, said the association would carry out trade promotion programmes to promote the export of coconut products, in collaboration with government agencies.
All parts of the tree, including coconut palms and nuts, can be used, providing materials for many industries, including the processing industry and tourism, according to the Research Institute of Oil and Oil Plants.
Viet Nam has about 160,000 hectares under coconut cultivation. Coconut trees are mainly grown in the coastal central region and Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta, with Ben Tre Province being the largest cultivation area in the country.
Organised by the VCA and the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, the seminar was part of Viet Nam Coconut Week — VNS