Cau Duc pineapples, a brand name protected by the National Office of Intellectual Property, have been cultivated under the Vietnamese Good Agriculture Practice (VietGap) standards in Hau Giang province for the last three years, bringing high profits to local farmers.

Hau Giang is one of the largest pineapple-producing areas in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

In 2011, the province's Department of Science and Technology implemented the VietGap programme and expanded it to 50ha in Vi Thanh city and Long My district.

As part of the project, the department teaches farmers how to plant disease-free pineapple seedlings and also helps them find outlets for their products.

The 4.5 billion VND (214,000 USD) programme is funded by the central and local budget as well as participating farmers.

Farmer Vu Sui, Chairman of the Thanh Thang Co-operative in Vi Thanh's Hoa Tien commune, said the new method had produced high yields with larger fruit.

The head of the project, Nguyen Thi Kieu, said the department had provided farmers with seedlings, organic fertilisers and advanced technologies.

It had also paid for the fees required to apply for VietGap certification.

Kieu said that farmers had used integrated crop and pest management, and applied both organic and chemical fertilisers.

Pineapples cultivated under VietGap standards have yielded about 30 tonnes per ha, three times higher than normal cultivation.

With an average price of 4,000 VND a kilo, farmers can earn about 240 million VND (11,400 USD) per hectare, she said.

Hau Giang plans to expand the Queen pineapple cultivation area to 2,000ha by 2020. The province now has 1,546ha of pineapple with an average yield of 10 tonnes per hectare.

In recent years, local authorities have carried out many measures to improve the quality of Cau Duc pineapple seedlings and have encouraged farmers to apply VietGap standards.

The Queen pineapple variety, which has been cultivated in Hau Giang for more than 50 years, has a beautiful shape and is larger and less sweet than other varieties.

The trademark "Cau Duc Pineapples of Hau Giang" is registered and protected under the National Office of Intellectual Property.-VNA