Viet Nam News
TRÀ VINH — The Trà Vinh Province People’s Committee has approved a plan to develop 20,000ha of specialty fruits from now through 2020.
The plan, to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, targets 70 per cent of the 20,000ha being farmed using good agriculture practices for exports.
Each hectare will yield an annual income of VNĐ170 million (US$7,700).
The lands for the specialty fruits, mostly orange, mango, grapefruit and banana, will be zoned in Cầu Kè, Càng Long, Châu Thành, and Tiểu Cần districts.
In Cầu Kè, situated on the Hậu River and with fertile soil and freshwater all year round, about 4,000ha of specialty fruits will be developed and also be used for tourism services.
Trần Trung Hiền, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province would raise around VNĐ620 billion ($28 million), including from private investors, to carry out the plan.
The money would be used to build infrastructure and technical facilities for fruit production and sales, he said.
The province would also offer incentives for investing in production of high-quality fruit seedlings as well as purchasing, processing and exporting fruits, he said.
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh has around 6,800ha of orchards, including 1,150ha under mango, 1,830ha under king orange, 880ha under grapefruit, 1,650ha under longan and 1,630ha under banana, according to the department.
Most fruit orchards in the province are planted by individual farmers.
But there is little investment in infrastructure and application of advanced farming techniques while production linkages are insufficient.
Therefore, output and quality have not been steady, especially amid climate change, high tides and salinity intrusion, which have all affected fruit trees.
Drought and salinity at the end of last year and in the early part of this year reduced yields by 10-30 per cent on 3,700ha of fruits, according to the department.
In the last five years fruit orchards have yielded an average income of VNĐ100-120 million ($4,500 – 5,400) per hectare a year.
The provincial fruit growers association has helped farmers renovate nearly 3,900ha of low-yielding orchards and convert 1,000ha of poor rice fields into fruit orchards in recent years.
In Cầu Kè District, for instance, many farmers have turned their low-yielding rice fields into king orange orchards.
The district now has more than 1,900ha under king orange, including 945ha in Tam Ngãi Commune.
Phan Văn Biết, who has 1,000 king orange trees in a 5,000sq.m orchard in Tam Ngãi, said they have yielded fruits for the last three years.
Earlier he had grown rice, but with the land being situated at an elevation, it was not suitable for growing rice.
After attending a training course run by commune agriculture officials Biết turned his rice field into the orange orchard.
It takes a grafted king orange seedling around two years to mature and bear fruit.
Cầu Kè farmers said they have an income of more than VNĐ100 million ($4,500) per hectare per year from king oranges.
On the other hand rice farmers earn VNĐ39 million ($1,700) from three rice crops a year, according to the Cầu Kè District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau. – VNS