Dong Thap to expand fruit cultivation, improve fruit value hinh anh 1A jackfruit orchard in Dong Thap province’s Thanh Binh district (Photo: VNA)

Dong Thap (VNS/VNA) –
The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Dong Thap plans to increase the area under fruits cultivation to more than 35,000ha by 2025 with a focus on environment-friendly farming methods and developing value chains for fruits.

It also plans to enhance the means of origin tracing for the fruits and tourism services involving orchards in the period.

It hopes to have 928ha of orchards adopting Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and 53ha grown to GlobalGAP standards.

It has more than 33,000ha of orchards that will produce more than 377,000 tonnes of fruits this year, up 43 percent in area and 45.9 percent in output from 2015, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Mango, longan and citrus fruits are the key fruits and are grown in large, concentrated farming areas.

Nguyen Phuoc Thien, director of the department, said the rapid growth in fruit production has been a big factor in the province’s successful restructuring of its agriculture.

The income for farmers from the province’s key fruits is three to eight times higher than from rice, he said.

A Cat Chu mango orchard provides an income of 115 million VND (4,960 USD) per hectare per year, while the figures are 261 million VND (11,260 USD) and 850 million VND (36,700 USD) for the Edor longan and the Xoan orange.

Under the province’s agriculture restructuring plan, many farmers with low-yield rice fields have switched to fruits and adopted VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards and advanced techniques to produce quality fruits that are also exported.

Nguyen Van Hai in Thap Muoi district’s Phu Dien commune has switched to growing Thai jackfruit one his one-hectare paddy and has three to four harvests a year. His 500 – 700 kilogrammes of fruit per harvest mean he earns 600 million VND (25,900 USD) a year.

The province, the delta’s largest mango producer, has more than 9,650ha under the fruit and an annual output of 127,000 tonnes.

Farmers here use advanced techniques to grow mangoes even in the off-season to and reduce the output during main harvest season to keep prices steady.

Since the province grows many different fruits with steady quality, many companies have invested in processing them.

There are 25 small and medium – sized companies that produce more than 60 types of processed fruits and vegetables. 

Of them 20 have been identified for the country’s ‘one commune – one product’ (OCOP) programme and are sold in supermarkets.

Thien said based on the OCOP products, many localities in the province have chosen key fruits to restructure agriculture and develop value chains.

They have developed concentrated growing areas with value chains to reduce production costs and improve farmers’ incomes, he said.

The province has 11 cooperatives, 80 co-operative groups and 58 farmers clubs that have developed value chains for fruits.

There are 133 fruit-growing areas covering a total of nearly 6,000ha that have been granted production unit codes for export purposes. 

Most of these areas are under mango, longan, dragon fruit, jackfruit, and rambutan.  

To be granted a production unit code, each fruit growing area should be a minimum of 10ha, grow a single kind of fruit and to Vietnamese VietGAP or other equivalent standards. 

The farmers also have to carry out many other tasks like keeping a cultivation diary for traceability and follow regulations on pesticide use./.