09:33 | 22/06/2018 Trade
(VEN) - The National Office of Intellectual Property has granted geographical indication certificates to green-skin grapefruit and green Xiem coconut, in order to promote the value of these unique specialties of the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.
The US is the largest export market of Ben Tre’s green Xiem coconut, accounting for about 70 percent of total local output. The fruit’s quality, sweetness, nutritional values and health benefits have also carved out a certain market niche in Canada, Australia, Singapore, Japan and China.
Nonetheless, since it was devoid of a brand name until now, the competitiveness of green Xiem coconut was limited compared to products of other countries, especially Thailand, with foreign markets increasingly demanding proof of origin and trademarks.
According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, the GI registration is expected to boost the value of the green Xiem coconut in the domestic market and help expand exports to foreign markets.
Ben Tre has some 70,000ha under coconut and is the country’s largest producer, growing some 600 million nuts a year. The province plans to increase the land allocated for green Xiem coconut farming by 20 percent, and is working with cooperatives to apply VietGAP standards in their farming to ensure higher quality coconuts.
The Ben Tre Department of Science and Technology is implementing a program for the development of the coconut industry during the 2015-2020 period. To date, nine research projects have been carried out with a budget of VND4.98 billion. In addition, the department has provided loans for four coconut projects valued at VND7 billion. Moreover, the department has encouraged farmers to participate in cooperative groups to produce coconuts meeting the export standards, and cooperated with businesses to disseminate modern farming methods.
Bui Duong Thuat, director of the Mekong Impex Fresh Fruit Company Ltd, said the company plans to participate in all coconut production stages. In addition to coordination with the authorities and farmers to build concentrated coconut growing areas, the company will send technical staff to gardens in the process of harvesting in order to ensure the collection of coconuts at the right age. Technical staff will also accompany gardeners to tend coconuts, contributing to meeting the market requirements.