|Coconuts being harvested in Trà Vinh Province’s Châu Thành District. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hoà|
TRÀ VINH — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh is encouraging farmers to grow more organic coconuts to increase the value of the produce.
Trần Văn Dũng, deputy director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said coconut farmers and companies would be offered preferential policies for the purpose and linked up to establish value chains.
The department has instructed its Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department to teach farmers organic coconut growing techniques and strengthen advocacy about its benefits.
Besides reducing costs, the cultivation of organic coconuts also helps protect the environment and community health.
Trà Vinh, which is the country’s second largest coconut producer after neighbouring Bến Tre Province, has more than nearly seven million trees, mostly in Càng Long, Tiểu Cần and Cầu Kè districts.
It produces 370,000 tonnes equivalent to 444 million coconuts a year.
With support from the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Project in Trà Vinh Province, the department developed a plan to enhance the coconut value chain productivity in 2018.
It focuses on developing concentrated organic farming areas and linkages between coconut farmers and companies.
In the five years since, the organic coconut growing area has increased to 5,000ha, up nearly 4,600ha from 2018, with an annual output of 78,500 tonnes of nuts.
Farmers have contracts with companies, who buy their coconuts at 10-15 per cent above market prices.
Dương Văn Thọ, chairman of the Ngãi Hùng Agriculture Co-operative in Tiểu Cần District, said his co-operative was assisted with developing a 392ha coconut growing area in 2019.
The department should regularly organise courses to train farmers in organic growing techniques, he said.
Farmers, co-operatives and companies should be helped with the development of value chains, he added.
Farmers, co-operatives and companies are developing more organic coconut growing areas.
The Thuận Phong Agricultural Product Processing Co., Ltd. in Bến Tre Province has developed a 906ha organic coconut plantation in Châu Thành District.
The company is expected to expand it by 3,000ha by September.
Trà Vinh plans to increase its coconut growing area to 30,000ha by 2030 from more than 26,000ha now.
It has more than 50 companies, co-operatives and households which make products such as dried coconut flesh, coconut milk, oil, coal, cosmetic products, and others for both domestic consumption and exports. — VNS