A farmer harvest durians in Cai Lay district of Tien Giang province (Photo: VNA)

Tien Giang (VNA) – The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, dubbed the “kingdom of fruits”, is taking steps to bolster the trade of local fruit specialties in Vietnamese and foreign markets.

Tien Giang boasts several popular fruit varieties, including Hoa Loc mangoes, Ngu Hiep durians, Tan Phuoc pineapples, Cho Gao dragon fruits and Vinh Kim star apples.

It is home to more than 77,700ha of fruit trees, harvesting nearly 1.6 million tonnes of fruits each year. More than 600ha of the area have met VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards.

In 2018, fruit production value surpassed 25 trillion VND (more than 1 billion USD), or some 61 percent of local agricultural value.

Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Doan Van Phuong said Tien Giang has great potential for fruit tree development, but to optimise this advantage, it must ensure stable sales.

According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Nghia, Tien Giang has moved to step up trade promotion in both domestic and foreign markets, including by participating in international fairs and signing fruit purchase contracts with other Vietnamese localities.

He noted his province inked a deal on fruit and aquatic product manufacturing and consumption with Da Nang for 2017 – 2020. Under this deal, it will supply 26,000 – 30,000 tonnes of different fruits to the central city each year.

Local businesses and cooperatives have also provided agricultural products for big distributors in Ho Chi Minh City such as Big C, Lotte Mart, Citi Mart and A Chau supermarkets.

Earlier this year, Tien Giang formed a partnership with Vietnam Airlines to serve Hoa Loc mangoes and green-skin grapefruits on the national flag carrier’s flights. More seasonal fruit specialties of the province are expected to be available on Vietnam Airlines’ flights in the near future, Nghia said.

Meanwhile, Cho Gao dragon fruits, Ngu Hiep durians, Vinh Kim star apples and green-skin grapefruits have become major export items, helping farming households raise their incomes.

Tien Giang shipped the first batch of Vinh Kim star apples to the US in December 2017, opening up a new export opportunity for this fruit, deemed the most delicious star apple variety in Vietnam.

Additionally, other delicacies like mangoes and grapefruits have also succeeded in entering demanding markets, proving the effectiveness of trade promotion activities, according to the People’s Committee.

In 2018, the province earned 17.2 million USD from exporting 10,522 tonnes of fruit, up 20.11 percent in value and 28.3 percent in volume.

However, Vice Chairman Nghia said export volume has yet to match potential, given the big output, high economic value and strong demand in foreign markets.

He added to boost trading, the provincial administration has ordered departments and agencies to accelerate agricultural and industrial restructuring, attract more investment to processing, step up trade promotion and seek new markets. Tien Giang has also been working to make market forecasts to help businesses, cooperatives and farmers build development plans and improve their connectivity.-VNA