Farmers harvest organic coconut in Bến Tre Province’s Thạnh Phú District. — VNA/VNS Photo Công Trí
BẾN TRE — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bến Tre plans to further develop organic agriculture to meet the requirements of both the domestic and export markets.
Under a 2022-25 plan, it targets having 11-13 per cent of farming areas meeting organic standards.
The country’s largest coconut producer also hopes to have 20,000ha of groves growing to organic standards by 2025 and 30,000ha by 2030.
The plan also aims to have organic aquaculture accounting for 1-2 per cent by 2025 and 0.2-0.5 per cent of cattle being bred to organic standards.
It has budgeted VNĐ127.4 billion (US$5.5 million) for the programme.
To meet the targets, the province will zone areas for each kind of crop and livestock, according to its People’s Committee.
It will prioritise plants and animals appropriate for local soil and other conditions and which are resistant to diseases and have demand.
It will establish concentrated organic farming areas for key agricultural products together with developing brand names, geographical indication and origin traceability.
It will develop linkages between agricultural companies and co-operatives for consuming organic products.
It will encourage the development of co-operatives, co-operative groups and farms for producing speciality agricultural products.
Trần Ngọc Tam, chairman of the province People’s Committee, said advocacy activities would be strengthened on the media to public awareness of organic agriculture.
The province would have preferential policies for individuals, co-operatives and companies investing in organic farming, he added.
Huỳnh Quang Đức, deputy director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Bến Tre has more than 14,000ha of coconut, rice, vegetables, and other crops grown to organic standards.
The province’s coconut products are exported to demanding markets like the US, Japan and the EU, he said.
More than 13,700ha of coconut, or 17.8 per cent, have received organic certification, he said.
It also has 388ha of grapefruit grown to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards, 4.1 per cent of the total area.
The grapefruit farmers have agreements with fruit buying establishments within and outside the province.
Besides developing organic agriculture, Bến Tre is also developing products under the country’s “one commune - one product” (OCOP) programme to increase rural incomes.
OCOP includes commercial products and services like food and beverages, handicrafts and rural tourism services.
The province has 131 OCOP products, the third-highest in the delta after Đồng Tháp and Sóc Trăng, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It has created favourable conditions for producers of OCOP to show them off at fairs at home and abroad, it said.
It has established a website at http://ocop.bentre.gov.vn/ to showcase its speciality products to consumers.
It exports 36 OCOP products to the US, France, Germany, Thailand, Russia, and Pakistan, and expanded their sales within the country.
Đức, deputy director of the department, said the programme has contributed to creating agricultural products with high quality and value.
They have helped develop the farm economy and rural areas, he added. — VNS