A farmer is harvesting cacao fruits. Vietnam aims for 50,000 hectares of cacao by 2020. (Source: www.cap-vietnam.com)

Dak Lak (VNA) – Vietnam plan to bring its total cacao area to 50,000 hectares by 2020, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Of which, 38,500 hectares, mainly in the Central Highlands, southeastern and Mekong Delta regions, will be solely commercial cacao trees, producing an average output of 1.19 tonnes per hectare.

In order to achieve those mentioned-above goals, the MARD asked provinces to review cacao development in the past years and the planning for cacao development befitting cacao tree growth, climate, soil, farming practices and the investment regime in each region.

The localities were advised to issue support policies to encourage and create conditions for people to develop cacao, focusing on seedlings, re-cultivation, technical training, technology transfer, information and trade promotion.

The ministry is also encouraging provinces to form linkages in production according to a value chain to increase the value and sustainable development of cacao trees.

Vietnam currently has 11,698 hectares of cacao trees, in which 70 percent are producing fruit. Only 10 percent of the total area is dedicated solely to cacao trees.

The trees are typically planted with other commercial trees in the majority of areas, like cashew trees in the Central Highlands region and the southeastern region, and coconut or fruit trees in the Mekong Delta.

Dak Lak has the largest area of cacao with 2,000 hectares.

In the past 10 years, the development of cacao trees has made some progress but it has failed to meet expectations, achieving only 33.34 percent of the area goal and 26.38 percent of the output goal for the period.-VNA