|A farmer uses plastic bags to cover young mangoes in Đồng Tháp Province. - Photo baodongthap.vn|
HCM CITY – Experts have urged Đồng Tháp Province, the largest mango producer in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, to build brands and develop large-scale fields by strengthening cooperation among local farmers.
Speaking at a seminar held in the province’s Cao Lãnh City on Tuesday, Professor Trần Văn Hâu of Cần Thơ University said that farmers also needed to work more closely with companies to ensure that output meets export demand.
Đồng Tháp has more than 9,300ha of mango varieties with annual output of 90,000 tonnes, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Two specialty mango varieties, Cát Chu and Hòa Lộc, account for 70 per cent and 20 per cent of the province’s total mango area, respectively.
The fruit is one of Đồng Tháp’s key products in its agriculture restructuring programme.
The province’s mangoes, which are mostly exported to China, have also been exported to South Korea, Japan and New Zealand.
The province, which has set up two co-operatives and 29 co-operative teams that grow mango, has contracted with companies to guarantee outlets for their mangoes.
Last year, the companies purchased more than 6,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes from farmers.
Participants at the seminar said that farmers should pay more attention to fruit quality and post-harvest preservation if authorities decide to focus on selling mostly fresh mango.
To increase exports to demanding markets, the fruit should meet global Good Agricultural Practice standards, look beautiful and have good quality, they said.
Professor Nguyễn Bảo Vệ, former head of the Cần Thơ University’s Agriculture Faculty, said nutrition management would improve quality.
The sugar and starch in mango should account for 96 per cent of mango nutritional value and the minerals should account for less than 4 per cent, he said.
Nguyễn Thanh Hùng, deputy chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, told farmers to work together and set up mango production chains.
In the province, most mango fields that have outlet guarantees are cultivated under Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice (VietGAP) standards, while young mangoes are covered in plastic bags to protect them from pests.
Farmers earn profits of VNĐ200 -250 million (US$8,800 – 11,000) per ha a year for mangoes planted in co-operation with companies.
Đồng Tháp has six areas that produce off-season mangoes, with a total area of 416ha in Cao Lãnh District and Cao Lãnh City. - VNS