Dong Thap province to expand area under mango hinh anh 1A mango orchard in Dong Thap province’s Cao Lanh district (Source: VNA)

Dong Thap (VNA) - Dong Thap province, the Mekong Delta’s largest mango producer, plans to increase the area under the fruit to 10,000ha next year, a top agriculture official has said.

Nguyen Phuoc Thien, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said it would also invest in infrastructure for concentrated mango-growing areas and developing its mango brand at home and abroad.

The province has 9,664ha of mango orchards, mostly in Cao Lanh, Lap Vo and Thanh Binh districts and Cao Lanh and Sa Dec cities, 18 percent of the delta’s total.

Cat Chu and Hoa Loc mangoes are its two major varieties, with the former accounting for 60 percent of the mango-growing area and the latter for 30 percent.

Thien said the province has an average yield of 11 tonnes per hectare per year.

Cat Chu offers profits of 115 million VND (5,000 USD) per hectare per year and Hoa Loc, 200 million VND (8,600 USD), he said.

More and more farmers are using advanced techniques to improve yield and quality. Those who grow Cat Chu and Hoa Loc now use bags to cover young mangoes to protect them from pests. This method also helps reduce the use of pesticides, gives the fruits an attractive appearance and increases yields by 20-30 percent.    

More than 6,300ha of orchards now fruit in the off-season, when farmers can get 10,000 VND per kilogramme more than during the main season.

Doan Thanh Hien, a member of the My Xuong Mango Cooperative in Cao Lanh district, was one of the province’s first farmers to adopt good agricultural practices (GAP) standards to grow mangoes in the off-season. The main harvest season is April-May.

The province has focused on GAP in recent years and now has mangoes grown to VietGAP quality on 181ha and GlobalGAP quality on 42ha.

It exports the fruit to a number of markets, including the US and Australia.

It has helped its four mango co-operatives and 37 cooperative groups link up with companies in HCM City and Hanoi to export the fruit to the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and China.     

Mango is one of the five key agricultural produce in Dong Thap’s agricultural restructuring plan for the period up to 2020.

It targets output of 125,000 tonnes worth 1.9 trillion VND (81.9 million USD) this year, up 269 billion VND from last year, according to the department./.