A farmer harvest star apples in Vinh Kim commune of Chau Thanh district, Tien Giang province (Photo: VNA)

Tien Giang (VNA) – The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is taking measures to ensure the quality of star apples for export to the US, said Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Van Man.

Local authorities have detailed farming techniques and instructed farmers to manage agricultural product quality, he noted, elaborating that farmers have received training in disease prevention and the use of plant protection substances. They were warned not to use substances that the US bans and replace those chemicals with biological products.

Tien Giang has provided codes for new farming areas while expanding the areas which already had codes. It has also requested star apple exporters to coordinate with specialised agencies to receive timely technical support.

Man said the province is pushing star apple cultivation towards VietGAP (Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice) standards to ensure food safety and origin traceability.

The agriculture department also asked the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to continue reviewing the granting codes for star apple exporters and strictly examine the origin, package and quality of export batches so as not to affect the prestige of Vietnamese star apples.

[Video: A decade for star apples to enter US pays off]

The Plant Protection Department has also been asked to update localities with plant quarantine information to deal with violations in a timely manner, the official said.

He added his province is making efforts to form long-term cultivation areas to ensure stable production and supply of quality star apples. Notably, it is implementing a pilot project on recovering Lo Ren star apple trees, a Tien Giang variety.

It is also re-organising the production and consumption chain, improving star apple cooperatives, and stepping up trade promotion to boost exports to the US and other markets, Man noted.

In the Mekong Delta, Tien Giang is one of the provinces with the biggest star apple farming areas. In late December 2017, the agriculture ministry and the provincial People’s Committee announced that the first batch of Vietnamese star apples had been shipped to the US after 10 years of negotiations.

Since the announcement, Tien Giang has exported 73 tonnes of star apples to the US, according to Vo Van Men, deputy head of the plant protection division of the provincial agriculture department.-VNA