|A farmer tends his Lò Rèn Vĩnh Kim milk apple orchard in Tiền Giang Province’s Châu Thành District. - VNA/VNS Photo Minh Trí|
HCM CITY – Tiền Giang Province, the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta’s largest fruit producer, has increased its fruit cultivation area to nearly 75,000ha this year, up three per cent against the same period last year.
Farmers have planted 1,300ha of new dragon fruit, 1,200ha of pineapple and 400ha of new green-peel and pink-flesh grapefruit this year.
Under its agricultural structuring plan, the province has encouraged farmers to turn farmland unsuited to growing rice into fruit orchards.
Cao Văn Hóa, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province had set up concentrated fruit planting areas to produce specialty fruits for domestic and export markets.
Specialty exports include Lò Rèn Vĩnh Kim milk apple in Châu Thành District, Ngũ Hiệp durian in Cai Lậy District, and citrus fruits in flood-prone districts.
The province has also established a 7,000 concentrated durian planting area in Cai Lậy District, the largest durian planting area in the Mekong Delta.
The milk apples, which are exported to the US, offer high profits for farmers.
Advanced farming techniques, especially for off-season fruits, and good quality seeds have helped farmers increase profits by VNĐ300 – 500 million (US$13,200 – 22,000) per ha of specialty fruit a year. Some farmers can earn a profit of up to VNĐ1 billion ($44,000) per ha a year.
Huỳnh Văn Kem, who plants 7,000sq.m of two specialty durian varieties - Ri6 and Mong Thong - in Cai Lậy District, said he harvests an average of 20 tonnes of durian a year and earns a profit of VNĐ1 billion.
Durian yields high profits, but farmers must choose good seedlings, use advanced farming techniques and produce off-season fruits, according to Kem.
Lê Văn Cẩn in Chợ Gạo District said he earns a profit of VNĐ100 million a year from planting 4,000sq.m of dragon fruit.
This profit is four times higher than from rice, he said, adding that he planted rice on his farmland.
Concentrated fruit planting trees have helped farmers increase their income, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The province has also started production chains for durian, Hòa Lộc mango and dragon fruit cultivation to 2020.
The development of new fruit orchards has increased the demand for fruit seedlings.
Út Phương, a fruit seedlings producer in Cai Lậy District, said the price of seedlings of Ri 6 and Mong Thong durian varieties had risen to VNĐ100,000 a seedling, up two times against the same period last year. — VNS