Mekong Delta district preserves speciality pink mandarin

January 29, 2023 - 15:28
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp is stepping up efforts to preserve and increase the value of the speciality pink mandarin grown in Lai Vung District.


Hưng Phát, a pink mandarin orchard in Lai Vung District’s Hoà Thành Commune, opened to tourists on December 10 last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhựt An

ĐỒNG THÁP — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp is stepping up efforts to preserve and increase the value of the speciality pink mandarin grown in Lai Vung District.

The fruit has been grown in the district for nearly 100 years, and it now has some 200ha of mature trees and 50ha of newly planted ones.

Pink mandarin trees has high yields (30-40 tonnes per hectare a year) and large fruits (4-5 fruits per kilogramme). 

In 2016, the peak time for growing the fruit, the district had nearly 1,000ha and an annual output of more than 30,000 tonnes, according to the district's People’s Committee.

And then many orchards contracted diseases, especially the dry root rot disease, and died.

The administration and research institutes have undertaken several projects to preserve the fruit and improve its quality in recent years.

Speaking at a recent seminar in Đồng Tháp, Nguyễn Thành Tài, deputy director of the provincial Department of Science and Technology, said the department has implemented a project for treating the dryness at the head end of the fruit that occurs when it is ripe, and another to prevent a disease that kills trees even when they are green.  

The Southern Fruit Research Institute carried out a project in 2015-20 to improve fruit quality, focusing on increasing sweetness and reducing sourness while keeping the skin and flesh colours.

It identified two pink mandarin trees to derive high-quality seedlings from.

Nguyễn Nhựt Trường of the Institute said a variety was created that is disease resistant and of high quality, grows well and has few seeds, and offers high incomes to farmers.

Nguyễn Hữu Hiền, deputy chairman of the Lai Vung People’s Committee, said the district would work with experts to standardise farming of the fruit to improve yields, quality and safety.

It plans to adopt technology and organic farming to improve farmers’ incomes, advanced techniques to help grow the fruit year round, make products from the fruit, and offer tours to orchards, he said.

Pink mandarin is only harvested once a year, before Tết (the Lunar New year), and is one of the favourites during the festival for its beautiful colours, unique flavours and tastes, and its use as an offering in ancestors’ altars.

Many orchards are also receiving visitors.

The district has eight orchards in Long Hậu, Tân Thành, Hoà Thành, and Vĩnh Thới communes that offer tourism services.

The 1.4ha Hưng Phát organic orchard in Hoà Thành Commune has been offering tourism services for four years.

It also serves tourists foods made from the fruit such as fried snake-head fish and chicken cooked with pink mandarin sauce besides juices and wines, Lê Thuý Hằng, its manager, said.

Cao Văn Hoà Vũ, head of the Lai Vung Bureau of Culture and Information, said orchard owners and workers have been trained in tourism skills to serve visitors better. — VNS