|A durian orchard that produces off-season fruits in Tiền Giang Province’s Cai Lậy District. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Trí|
TIỀN GIANG — Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang are getting high earnings for their off-season durian now because of high demand both in the export and domestic markets.
Huỳnh Tấn Lộc, director of the Ngũ Hiệp Durian Co-operative in Cai Lậy District, said the prices of the fruit increased sharply to VNĐ170,000-180,000 (US$7.2-7.7) a kilogramme a few days ago, a record high and double the prices last month.
The country’s largest durian producing province has more than 17,000ha under the fruit, mostly in Cai Lậy, Cái Bè and Châu Thành districts and Cai Lậy Town.
The orchards have an average yield of 20-25 tonnes per hectare and farmers harvesting now could earn VNĐ1-1.5 billion ($43,000-64,000) per hectare, the highest of any speciality fruit, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
But their output is not large because it is the off-season, it said.
Lê Minh Trí, who grows durian in Cai Lậy District’s Cẩm Sơn Commune, said there are normally two peak off-season harvests – the 10th and 11th lunar months and after the Lunar New Year.
Nguyễn Văn Mạnh, director of the department, said the export of durian through official channels to China and the expansion of export markets are major reasons for the surge in prices.
To increase farmers’ incomes, the department offers them guidance for registering production codes to meet export requirements.
Two durian growing areas covering a total of 93ha have been granted such codes, it said.
To get the code, the area must be at least 10ha in size and planted to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) or other equivalent standards.
The department has instructed durian farmers to adopt GAP and other high quality standards and increase mechanisation.
More than 96 per cent of durian orchards in the province have automatic efficient irrigation facilities.
The province is carrying out a programme to create linkages between stakeholders in durian cultivation and consumption.
It has warned farmers not to grow the fruit in areas not zoned for it since high tides and flooding could damage them. — VNS