Bac Giang litchi growers opt for quality over quantity

09:03 | 06/07/2018 Economy- Society

(VEN) - At a recent economic forum on production and sales of key agricultural products in Bac Giang Province, local leaders expressed their belief that 2018 would be a successful year for provincial litchi farmers and traders.

bac giang litchi growers opt for quality over quantity

Concentrating on quality

Instead of expanding the crop planting area in the 2018 litchi season, Bac Giang Province has narrowed the area to concentrate on applying new techniques to improve fruit quality.

Addressing the forum, Vice Chairman of the Bac Giang Province People’s Committee Duong Van Thai said litchi gardens in the locality currently total more than 28,000ha, down nearly 1,000ha compared with 2017. Thanks to favorable weather conditions, this year’s yields are expected to reach 150,000-180,000 tonnes. Litchi gardens grown according to VietGAP standards, which total 13,500ha, are expected to yield 90,000 tonnes, while those meeting GlobalGAP standards (218.5ha) are expected to yield more than 10,000 tonnes.

The Bac Giang Department of Industry and Trade has coordinated with departments and institutes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to develop linkages among farmers, processing enterprises and trading companies. Work is also focused on providing guidance and assistance for farmers to apply new planting techniques, tend litchi trees and expand the planting areas that meet VietGAP standards.

From the beginning of the 2018 litchi season, litchis grown according to VietGAP standards in Luc Ngan District have been available on the shelves of major supermarket chains, such as Metro, Co-opmart, Hapro, BigC, as well as wholesale markets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Further efforts are underway to promote the presence of the fruit in new, potential markets in the central region, the Central Highlands and the southeastern region.

Along with maintaining exports to China, Bac Giang Province is promoting litchi exports to the US, the EU, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and Malaysia, while at the same time seeking access to other markets, such as the Middle East, Thailand and Canada.

Vu Dao, Director of the Phong Son Tiem Company Limited, which has exported Luc Ngan litchis to discerning markets, such as Australia, Europe and Thailand, said the quality of litchis grown in this district has improved due to the application of new planting techniques and local authorities’ support for farmers to grow litchis according to VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards.

According to Sheng Cheng Wei, President of the Pingxiang International Fruit Association (China), litchis grown in Bac Giang ripen 20 days earlier than Chinese litchis and have been exported to major Chinese cities and provinces, such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Shenyang.

Efforts to promote sales

Bac Giang Province has taken the initiative in boosting litchi sales. A litchi sales promotion workshop was held in the town of Pingxiang, Guangxi Province in late May. During the harvest season, customs clearance formalities are implemented for thousands of tonnes of litchis to be exported to China each day.

According to Tran Quang Tan, Director of the Bac Giang Department of Industry and Trade, the workshop attracted the participation of hundreds of businesspeople and representatives of Chinese localities and sectors pleased with the Bac Giang litchis. Last year, the province organized a trade promotion conference in the center of Pingxiang, which resulted in the signing of many deals for trade of goods via border crossings.

However, the leadership of Bac Giang Province’s People’s Committee affirmed that the sale of agricultural products, in general, and litchis, in particular, remain unsustainable.

Addressing the forum, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said Bac Giang Province should concentrate on implementing logistic tasks to facilitate litchi sales, and maintain coordination with other provinces and cities to obtain information about supply and demand.

“The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should take the initiative in negotiating with their counterparts in countries which have signed free trade agreements with Vietnam in order to boost the export of agricultural products. Negotiations with Chinese authorities regarding visa on arrival at the Huu Nghi border crossing and the ‘two countries, one inspection’ model of customs clearance procedures should also be promoted,” Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said.

To increase domestic sales and exports of litchis, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said Bac Giang Province should expand the area of gardens grown according to VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards. “To promote domestic sales, it is necessary to maintain linkages between farmers and wholesale markets, trade centers and supermarket chains in major cities,” he added.

Litchi farmers in Bac Giang Province expect 2018 yields to reach 150,000-180,000 tonnes, almost double the yields

of 2017. About 80,000-90,000 tonnes (50 percent of the total) will be sold domestically, and the remainder will be

exported.

Thanh Tam & Lan Anh