Scientists and Mekong Delta farmers all believe that the delta’s fruits are absolutely capable to reach out to the world market, thus turning Vietnam into a fruit export power.
Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Minh Chau has many times affirmed that Hoa Loc mango, Chin Hoa durian, Ri-6 and Cho Gao dragon fruit in Mekong Delta have the quality higher by far than the same fruits in the region. However, the fruits still cannot be exported in large quantities because of the small cultivation scale and the modest output.
Supply cannot meet the export demand
An officer of the Hoa Loc mango Cooperative in Tien Giang province said that mango trees have been grown in accordance with GAP standards, but the exports remain modest. A cultivated growing area of 540 hectares can only provide 100 tons of fruits for export.
“We had to refuse a lot of orders to provide fruits in large quantities, because we cannot find enough products to satisfy the orders,” the officer said.
Huynh Hong Ung, Chair of Quon Long Dragon Fruit Cooperative, also said that the cooperative cannot provide dragon fruit in big quantities as ordered, even though the Cho Gao dragon fruit growing area is 2000 hectares large which provides tens of thousands of tons a year.
The same situation is occurring with Lo Ren Vinh Kim Star Apple Cooperative. Chair of Lo Ren Vinh Kim Star Apple Cooperative has admitted that the output of products meeting Global GAP standards is too modest in comparison with clients’ requirements.
Ngan said the cooperative is trying to persuade gardeners to apply Global GAP in a larger area to increase the output for export. At present, Lo Ren star apple trees are being grown on the area of 2500 hectares which can provide 30,000 tons of products a year. However, the Global GAP has been applied only to 100 hectares.
An official of the Tien Giang provincial Department for Agriculture and Rural Development also said that the problem lies in the production capacity. Suppliers have to refuse a lot of big orders, because of the limited output and the modest volume of fruits meeting standards for export.
Striving for large production scale
Vietnam would not be able export fruits in big quantities like Thailand or China, unless it still keeps the current small scale production, grows different trees in the same orchards, growers do not cooperate with each other, applies backward packaging technology, and does not have reasonable ad strategies.
Farmers were once joyful at the good news that the World Bank would provide loans to build up the alliances of rice and fruit production and consumption in Mekong Delta. It is expected that 35 alliances would be built in 22 districts. It is expected that by 2013, when the project finishes, the competitiveness of fruits in Mekong Delta would be considerably improved.
However, according to Chau, by early 2012, the project had remained on… paper.
Chau said that there are two main solutions to develop Mekong Delta fruits: building up fruit growing areas big enough to provide high quality products for export and local consumption; applying GAP standards during the production.
Meanwhile, Dr Le Huu Hai, Head of the Cai Lay district’s agriculture sub-department keeps less optimistic than Chau.
“The fruit market is very instable, while there has been no effective solution that can help farmers find stable outlets for their products,” he said.
Meanwhile, farmers say they need the support from the State, because they do not know from where they should start.
Source: Phap luat TPHCM/ VNN
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