Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh and a high-ranking delegation from Vietnam left the New Zealand capital city of Wellington for Auckland city on September 11.

Upon arrival in Auckland , the Vietnamese delegation visited the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research - an institute that takes part in scientific cooperation between the two countries.

General Secretary Manh told scientists at the institute that Vietnam is highly interested in post-harvest preservation as well as genetic techniques to create new breeds; and attaches great importance to the development of appropriate scientific research models.

He said he highly appreciated the institute’s achievements and was heartened by the initial cooperation between the institute and various localities in Vietnam .

Currently, the Institute for Plant and Food Research is working with Vietnam ’s Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI) to support the development of advanced agricultural practices for dragon fruit production in the two Mekong River delta provinces of Binh Thuan and Tien Giang.

The project is aimed at improving the competitiveness of local dragon fruit producers in the international market.

General Secretary Manh said he looked forward to increased cooperation between the New Zealand institute and Vietnam ’s scientific research and business institutions in order to boost the quality, yield and value of Vietnamese agricultural products.

Late in the afternoon the same day, Manh and his delegation visited Auckland ’s nature reserve and a grape farm in the city.

Auckland - the largest city of New Zealand – is considered its trade and retail centre as well as a tourism gateway to the country. It covers an area of 637 and has a population of 1.7 million people./.