Thanh Ha litchi festival opens in Hai Duong hinh anh 1Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam (second, left) at the festival (Source: VNA)

Hai Duong (VNA) – The first-ever Thanh Ha litchi festival opened in the northern province of Hai Duong on June 10 to promote the local specialty fruit.

The festival also aims to connect farmers with supermarkets and trade centres, and processing and export firms nationwide.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Vietnamese litchi has been put on shelves in many choosy markets, stressing the need to pay more attention to applying cutting-edge technologies and scientific and technological advances in caring, processing and preserving the fruit.

He also reminded State management agencies to help farmers promote the image and values of litchi.

Apart from litchi production and trade promotion, Hai Duong province in general and Thanh Ha district in particular should heed cultural and tourism development, especially ecological tourism, the official suggested.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the festival offers an opportunity to honour the local specialty fruit, farmers as well as Vietnam’s agriculture-based economy.

According to Nguyen Duong Thai, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, ancient documents proved that litchi was grown in Thanh Ha about 200-300 years ago.

In 2018, Hai Duong has about 10,500 ha of litchi, mostly in Thanh Ha district and Chi Linh town, which are expected to yield about 60,000 tonnes. Of the total amount, some 1,000 tonnes is qualified for export to the US, Australia and the EU, he said.

Within the framework of the festival, Deputy PM Dam and other delegates cut the ribbon to mark the departure of three containers of litchi to the processing zone of ABA Solution and Trade JSC in Me Linh, Hanoi, to export to the US.

An array of activities will be held during the festival, including tours to the ancient litchi tree in Thuy Lam village in Thanh Son commune, Thanh Ha district; visits to VietGAP litchi gardens; and boat tours to litchi orchards along Huong river, among others. Visitors can also try their hand at picking litchi in gardens in Thanh Ha district and Chi Linh town.

Hai Duong litchi received the geographical indication from the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Office of Intellectual Property in 2007. The local fruit was listed in the top 10 quality products in 2013 and 2014 and received the Gold Brand prize in 2015.

The Vietnam Association of Food Science and Technology granted a “trustful and safe food brand” certificate to Thanh Ha litchi in 2016. The same year, the ancient litchi tree in Thuy Lam village was recognised as the oldest of its kind in Vietnam.

Besides the domestic market, Thanh Ha litchi has increased its presence outside the country. The fruit has been exported to Australia, Canada, China, France, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. -VNA