|A durian orchard is equipped with an automatic irrigation system in Tiền Giang Province’s Cai Lậy District. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Trí|
TIỀN GIANG — Durian farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang are getting high production efficiency from cultivating the speciality fruit for export.
The country’s largest fruit producing province has 19,000ha of durian in its flood-controlled western region, which is its major durian growing area and comprises the districts of Cai Lậy, Cái Bè, Tân Phước, along with Cai Lậy Town.
Farmers in the region harvested 356,000 tonnes of durian last year and exported most of them to China and other markets.
Durian has a competitive advantage, high export value and high production efficiency compared to other specialty fruits, according to Võ Văn Men, head of the province’s Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department.
The province’s durian has an average yield of 20-25 tonnes per hectare a crop.
In January, farmers harvested off-season durian and sold them at a record high price of VNĐ120,000-140,000 (US$5-6) a kilogramme, earning a profit of VNĐ1-1.2 billion ($42,100-50,500) per hectare.
Ngô Văn Sơn, who has a 1ha durian orchard in Cai Lậy District’s Cẩm Sơn Commune, said he harvested 20 tonnes of durian and earned a profit of VNĐ1.1 billion ($46,300) last year.
His family used to be poor but thanks to growing durian his family had become wealthy, he said.
Previously, farmers in the province grew durian mostly along the Tiền River, a tributary of the Mekong River, in the western district of Cai Lậy. They now have expanded growing the fruit in most flood-controlled western districts and the province’s Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds) low-lying region.
Farmers in the province are turning more unproductive rice fields or other crops into growing durian for export.
In the northern section of National Highway No.1 in Cai Lậy and Cái Bè districts and Cai Lậy Town, farmers turned thousands of hectares of rice and other crops into growing durian last year.
To develop durian cultivation sustainably and improve income for farmers, the province has implemented a plan to develop durian to 2025 and a project to develop linkages among stakeholders in cultivation and consumption of durian.
The province plans to establish 15 new agricultural service co-operatives which have a total of 16,000 members and secure buyers for farmers.
Co-operatives in major durian growing areas have effectively promoted their role as a collective economy and reorganised production to increase durian value through developing linkages among stakeholders and using advanced farming techniques, according to Men.
The province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has provided advanced farming techniques for farmers to reduce production cost and improve durian quality.
It has instructed farmers to grow the fruit to Vietnamese and global good agricultural practices (VietGAP and GlobalGAP) standards, to make organic fertiliser, produce off-season durian and use automatic irrigation.
More than 96 per cent of the province’s durian area is now irrigated by automatic irrigation facilities.
The province has implemented trade promotion activities for durian to expand domestic and export markets.
It has assisted durian growing co-operatives and companies to participate in trade promotion fairs at home and abroad.
It has two durian growing areas that cover nearly 100ha and are granted production codes for official export to China.
It has 21 durian growing areas covering about 1,100ha which are being registered for production codes.
To get the code, each area must have a minimum of 10ha and be planted to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) or other equivalent standards.
The province aims that at least 50 per cent of its durian growing area will be granted production codes for official export to China this year. — VNS