Harvested Tắc Cậu pineapples in Kiên Giang Province’s Châu Thành District. – VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt
KIÊN GIANG Growing Tắc Cậu pineapple under Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP), a specialty fruit in southern Kiên Giang Province, has offered high profits for farmers in Châu Thành District’s Bình An Commune.
Hồ Văn Đào, who has grown the fruit under the VietGAP standards for one year, said he had harvested 6,000 pineapples per hectare per year compared to 4,500 pineapples per hectare a year in previous years.
VietGAP pineapples are bought at a higher price because they look better, he said.
They sell for VNĐ7,000 -12,000 a fruit, which is VNĐ1,000-2,000 higher than pineapples planted under traditional farming methods.
Farmers growing pineapples under the VietGAP standards earn a profit of nearly VNĐ50 million (US$2,160) per hectare a year.
Organic fertiliser, which improves soil fertility, helps to reduce labour costs spent for tending the fruit.
Tắc Cậu pineapples have been planted in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province for more than 70 years, mostly in Châu Thành and Gò Quao districts.
Tắc Cậu pineapples are planted in fields or intercropped in coconut and areca orchards. The pineapple is resistant to disease and is well known for its deliciousness and sweetness compared to other pineapple varieties.
Châu Thành District has about 1,700ha of Tắc Cậu pineapple with a yield of 10-12 tonnes a year, including 1,260ha in Bình An Commune.
Bình An has chosen the pineapple as a key agricultural produce since its soil is affected by alum and saltwater intrusion, which is suitable for growing pineapple.
In Bình An, 49 households have been granted VietGAP certificates to grow Tắc Cậu pineapples on a total area of 70ha.
The commune’s authorities provided farmers with techniques to cultivate fruit under VietGAP standards as well as 200 kilogrammes of organic fertiliser per hectare a year.
Lục Đức Long, an official in the Bình An Engineering Economy Division, said the households previously had problems growing the fruit but then agreed to implement the standards if they received training.
The cultivation of VietGAP pineapples has enhanced farmer awareness about VietGAP standards and improved the quality of pineapples, he said.
Under VietGAP standards, farmers have to strictly follow the processes of choosing seedlings, tending and harvesting under the standards.
The output of pineapples under VietGAP standards is 15-25 per cent higher than pineapples planted under traditional farming methods.
The weight of VietGAP pineapples is 1.6 -1.7 kilogramme a fruit compared to 1.2 kilogramme a fruit from traditional farming methods.
Farmers in the commune are harvesting pineapples for the coming Tết (Lunar New Year) Festival, which falls on January 25.
Pineapple is one of fruits which are in high demand for the festival as it is used on most family altars.
Nguyễn Quốc Linh, chairman of the Bình An Farmers Association, said the cultivation of VietGAP pineapples produced good-looking pineapples with even quality.
It has also offered higher profits, and protected the environment and health of farmers, he said.
The commune plans to expand Tắc Cậu pineapple area under VietGAP standards to improve income for farmers and create sustainable production.
Tắc Cậu pineapple are eaten fresh and used to make other products like pineapple cakes, dried pineapples, juice and jams. The province’s processed pineapples are sold domestically and exported. VNS