Farmers in the northern province of Hai Duong are busy on their litchi farms as they prepare to export the first batch of this local specialty to the US.

Nguyen Thi Lua’s family in Thanh Thuy commune, Thanh Ha district, is one of the 97 households fulfilling the US order. Her 19-tree farm had an output of 1.5 tonnes in 2014.

Lua said she signed a commitment not to using pesticides containing banned substances to ensure the quality and safety of the litchi.

Thanh Thuy commune has 25 hectares of litchi under Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards, including 10 hectares for export to the US .

According to Trinh Xuan Khoa, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thanh Thuy commune, farmers have received technical and financial support as well as safe pesticides from the province to apply VietGAP.

Earlier this month, the US inspected and granted codes to two litchi cultivation areas totalling 20 hectares in Hai Duong, he noted.

So far, the province has 10,500 hectares of the special “thieu” litchi. Each year, the province applies VietGAP standard to over 1,000 hectares.

After the US decided to open its market to Hai Duong’s litchi, the province rolled out a number of measures to provide a litchi shipment to the US in the middle of this year’s crop.

Vu Thi Ha, Deputy Head of the Hai Duong Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the province will continue instructing farmers and ensuring no banned pesticides are used on the litchi trees.

Six agricultural engineers have been sent to the local litchi areas to work with farmers and advise them in the production process, she said.

Growing litchi is the primary livelihood of farmers in the province. A number of efforts have been made so far to seek markets for the product.-VNA