Fruit growing is the Mekong Delta’s strength thanks to its rich soil and good weather and to export fruits more profitably, the local agricultural sector is paying close attention to improving product quality and building brands.

The Mekong Delta, which leads Vietnam in rice, fruit, and aquaculture output, has more than 295,000 hectares producing fruit.

Branding key products with a geographical indication is considered essential if the local sector wants to boost its export revenues, reported Radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV).

Tien Giang, which has the largest fruit-growing area in the delta - 60,000 hectares – boasts many specialties such as Hoa Loc sweet mangos, Lo Ren star apples, Cho Gao Dragons, and Ngu Hiep durians.

Tien Giang’s current export revenues are low, mainly due to a lack of information about export markets and poor coordination between producers and distributors. To improve the situation, the provincial agriculture has developed production models consistent with Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) and Global GAP, an internationally-recognised set of farm standards that follows Good Agricultural Practices.

Vo Ngoc Diep, the owner of a dragon farm in Cho Gao district, has successfully applied biologically safe production techniques. As a result his produce sells at a price 5 to 10 percent higher than produce grown using other models.

“We know that to export more fruit at higher prices, we must grow the fruit following VietGap standards. I myself don’t find any difficulties in implementing the standards. We just need to take careful notes to do it professionally,” Diep told VOV.

Ben Tre, another Mekong province, is famous for green-skin grapefruit, rambutan, longan, and jackfruit which have recently penetrated demanding markets like the US, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

Nguyen Huu Tam, head of the Tien Long Orchard Farm in Chau Thanh district, shared his experience: “To gain a firm foothold in demanding markets, we need to closely adhere to the VietGap standards and the recommendations of agricultural experts. The exported fruits should be safe for consumers, safe for the environment, and guarantee accurate geographical indications.”

Many provinces are currently conducting setting up specialised fruit-growing areas that match the fruit to local soil and weather conditions and consciously work to build trademarks.

Tran Quoc Tuan, Director of Tra Vinh province’s Department of Trade and Industry, said the plan is part of the Government’s project to restructure the agricultural sector.

In the future, the province will continue to work with relevant agencies to determine which fruits most benefit the province and develop brands for them while boosting promotion activities to expand markets for already internationally-recognised fruit products, he explained.

The province’s products are now sold in wholesale markets and a number of items are available in supermarkets. Tra Vinh is setting up wholesale companies to gather enough quantity for exports, according to the official.-VNA