Mekong Delta’s fruits: Linkages foster sustainable development

11:08 | 13/09/2016 Society

(VEN) - The Mekong Delta is known as the granary of fruits with many local specialties. Therefore, promoting links to ensure sustainable development is an urgent requirement.

Mekong Delta’s fruits: Linkages foster sustainable development

Self-production and self-consumption

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Crop Production pointed out that the Mekong Delta has more than 307,000 hectares of orchards, accounting for 37.5 percent of the national area. In recent years, cooperatives and cooperative groups have been established, specializing in growing fruits based on the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) standard, contributing to confirming its brand and promoting exports to foreign markets.

According to the Tien Giang Agriculture Promotion Center, 13 cooperatives and 33 cooperative groups specialize now in producing fruits. They have promoted links with farmers and businesses to strengthen consumption of mangoes, durians, dragon fruits, star apples and grapefruits. In particular, 10 cooperatives and some cooperative groups signed contracts with Thinh Phat, Long Viet, Long Nguyen, Cat Tuong, Phuong Anh and HatchanDo companies for fruit consumption of around 638 tonnes a year in 2015.

In addition to building brands, the Hau Giang agricultural sector has identified to produce fruits in chain and standards. Therefore, the province has built many models following VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards including seedless lemon and grapefruit production model, contributing to improving living conditions for local farmers.

Fruit consumption is mainly in the fresh form, while the processing, drying, canning have only accounted for a small proportion. In addition, 85-90 percent of total production is consumed domestically, while exports have accounted for 10-15 percent. Cooperatives and cooperative groups have not proved their efficiency due to small scale and lack of investment capital. Vu Suoi from Thanh Thang Village, Hoa Tien Commune, Tien Giang Province said that although the province has a pineapple export processing plant, farmers have to seek traders or sell at retail markets.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Crop Production Deputy Director Nguyen Van Hoa said that fruit production in the Mekong Delta is not sustainable, while links between production, purchasing, processing, storage and consumption are missing. In addition, businesses have not invested in building material areas. The development of brands, labels and geographical indications have been not efficient.

Strengthening links

According to Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association Dr. Nguyen Huu Dat, two main challenges of Vietnamese fruit sector consist in prices and food safety. The US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are seen as fastidious markets in fresh fruit imports. Fresh fruits must follow the VietGAP standard and do not contain any pesticide residues. Therefore, to help promote fruit exports, it needs further cooperation between stakeholders. Moreover, farmers need to closely link with exporters to ensure a stable supply at reasonable prices all year round.

National Agriculture Extension Centre Acting Director Tran Van Khoi stressed that promoting links between parties is seen as a key in producing fruits. However, the efficiency of linking requires the active participation of local governments to create a consensus for parties.

Nguyen Van Hoa said that the Department of Crop Production will work with ministries, departments and agencies to strengthen production linkages and well manage the fruit development planning in the Mekong Delta region. In addition, the state needs to issue appropriate development policies.

To achieve the goals of establishing concentrated orchards, increasing efficiency and improving competitiveness, it is necessary to promote links between farmers and businesses.

Hanh Nguyen