|Farmer Nguyễn Văn Hoà tends his 8,000sq.m jackfruit orchard, which used to be a rice field, in Cai Lậy District’s Phú Nhuận Commune in Tiền Giang Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Minh Trí|
TIỀN GIANG – Tiền Giang Province is encouraging farmers to grow off-season Thai jackfruit to avoid a glut during the main harvest season and resultant price decline.
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province, the country’s largest fruit producer, has more than 14,000ha under Thai jackfruit and an annual output of 200,000 tonnes, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Jackfruit accounts for the second largest fruit growing area in the province after durian, and is grown mostly in the western districts of Cai Lậy, Cái Bè, Châu Thành and Tân Phước, and Cai Lậy Town.
More and more farmers are switching to the fruit because it is easy to grow, grows well in the local soil and dovetails with the province’s agricultural restructure plan.
Thai jackfruit trees normally begin to fruit after two years and a mature orchard can yield 15 – 20 tonnes per hectare per year.
In Tiền Giang, the cultivation of Thai jackfruit has helped many farmers escape poverty for good.
Nguyễn Văn Nhã in Cai Lậy District’s Mỹ Thành Nam Commune turned his unproductive 2ha rice paddy into an orchard.
The cost of switching to jackfruit was more than VNĐ100 million (US$4,200) per hectare for buying seedlings and installing an automatic irrigation system, he said.
But he now earns VNĐ300 million ($12,600) a year from the orchard.
Authorities in Mỹ Thành Nam Commune are focused on restructuring to adapt to climate change. The commune farmers association has set up a Thai jackfruit group to share experiences among members.
To sustainably develop jackfruit farming, the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is teaching farmers intensive techniques and encouraging them to apply advanced technologies.
It wants them to adopt Vietnamese and global good agricultural practices (VietGAP and GlobalGAP) standards to have origin traceability.
It encourages them to grow off-season jackfruit to have harvests around the year and avoid price declines during the main season.
The province’s jackfruit is sold domestically and exported, mostly to China. – VNS