Friday, August 18, 2017 - 6:40:05

Cocao growers meet standards

Print

Cocao products grown in the southern province of Tien Giang have been certified by UTZ Kapeh Vietnam for meeting international-quality standards.

The Cho Gao Cocao Cooperative, which manages 1,500ha of cocao trees in the province's Cho Gao, Go Cong Tay and Tan Phu Dong districts, was awarded the certification.

"This will lead to more of an impetus to develop cocoa because the certification is awarded to products that have good quality and are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable," said Nguyen Van Thiet, chief representative of UTZ Kapeh Vietnam.

The certification, however, covers only 185 ha that strictly comply with UTZ-certified processes of taking care of trees, harvesting, fermenting, and drying of cocao-bean products.

Cocao products in the cooperative are categorised into two types: market cocoa and UTZ-certified cocao.

UTZ-certified cocoa products are purchased at a higher price compared to market cocoa.

UTZ production requires strict control of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, local monitoring and origin-tracking systems, farmer clubs, and the production diaries kept by farmers.

UTZ also strongly encourages the use of green fertilisers and non-chemical pesticides during cocao farming production.

According to Thiet, the yield of cocoa in the province is rather low, 50 tonnes of dried beans from 185ha. Thus, the cooperative should involve more farmers in UTZ-certified cocoa production.

Nguyen Van Tu, chairman of the Cho Gao Cocao Cooperative, said it has developed a roadmap to increase the number of farmers in a UTZ-certified cocoa production programme to increase production area and yields.

The local Department of Science and Technology is implementing the programme, funded by Helvitas Swiss International Vietnam. The programme began in 2009 and will end in 2014.

The cooperative expects to have 1,000 farmers take part in the programme by 2014.

UTZ cocoa production will have an area of 600ha, and yield will add up to 360 tonnes of dried cocoa a year.

Currently, there are 14 UTZ-certified clubs of cocao farmers.


Farmers are pleased with the programme, saying they can earn more profits from UTZ-certified cocoa. The farmers say they are also more aware about work safety.


Dr Mai Thanh Phung, director of the Vietnam Committee for Coordination of Cocoa Development, urged the province to increase cocoa production, saying that techniques learned from the programme would ensure production, and companies would purchase their products.

Cargill Vietnam is the leading purchaser of local cocoa. The company has worked with local farmers since early cocoa production in 2002, said Nguyen Hoang Hanh, deputy director of the local Department of Science and Technology, who manages the UTZ cocoa programme./.
Your comments about this article ...
Others