Tay Ninh custard apple farmers embrace VietGAP standards hinh anh 1Custard apples are grown to VietGAP standards in Tay Ninh City’s Thanh Tan commune. (Photo: VNA)

Tay Ninh (VNS/VNA) -
The southeastern province of Tay Ninh, the country’s largest custard apple producer, is growing the fruit to good agricultural practice (GAP) standards such as VietGAP and Global GAP to meet the market demand and improve farmers’ incomes.

With its favourable natural conditions for growing the fruit, the province has around 5,000ha under custard apple and an annual output of more than 50,000 tonnes, mostly around Ba Den Mountain in Tay Ninh city and Tan Chau and Duong Minh Chau districts.

In 2011 the National Office of Intellectual Property granted geographical indication (GI) certification for Ba Den custard apple, helping improve the image of the province’s fruit at home and abroad.

To meet the market demand for high-quality custard apples in recent years the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development assigned its agriculture extension centre to instruct farmers and companies to grow the fruit to VietGAP standards.

Most VietGAP-quality custard apples are sold to supermarkets or exported.

Huynh Bien Chieu of Tay Ninh city’s Thanh Tan commune was the first farmer to achieve standards, and he received a certificate attesting this in 2012.

Chieu now grows nearly 20ha of custard apple and harvests 400,000kg a year, selling them for 45,000 – 75,000 VND (2 - 3 USD) a kilogramme in the local market.

They include three tonnes he sells to companies in Ho Chi Minh City for export to countries like the United Arab Emirates, Canada and China, he said. 

The Natani Joint Stock Company in Tay Ninh city’s Tan Binh commune grows more than 100ha of custard apples to VietGAP standards.

Nguyen The Tan, its general director, said the company used mostly organic fertilisers and bio-products to grow the fruit.

The company sells nearly 100 tonnes of the fruit a month to supermarkets, and exports 15 – 20 tonnes to the US, Russia and Dubai.

Vo Duc Trong, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the fruit offered higher incomes than many other crops.

If grown using proper techniques, farmers could earn 200 - 300 million VND (8,620 – 12,930 USD) per hectare per year, he said.

Farmers in the province use advanced techniques to stimulate fruiting during the off-season to ensure harvests year round.
The main harvest season though is in August-September.

Custard apples are susceptible to pests such as the mealybug and Mediterranean fruit fly, and so authorities have instructed farmers to cover the fruits with bags to protect them.

They have also organised training courses in preventing and controlling the two pests. – VNS/VNA