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Growers must focus on quality
24 | 08 | 2007
The director of the Southern Fruit Research Institute, Nguyen Minh Chau, spoke to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about developing fruit cultivation in the Mekong Delta region

Fruit tree cultivation has developed quickly during the last few years with farming areas expanding by nine per cent each year. But what are the hurdles to further development?

There are several main problems. Management of seedlings is not good and leads to unmethodical planting. Although the total area of fruit farming has increased, cultivation is haphazard. In addition, a number of farmers use pesticide without proper guidance.

Post harvest technology related to areas such as packaging is not good. Another area that is lacking is co-operative activity which is not effective due to a lack of detailed assistance policies and market information.

A lot of fruit hasn’t met Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) standards. Moreover, we haven’t signed some important agreements, such as plant inspection agreements with Australia, America and Japan, and therefore we can’t export fruit to these potential markets.

The Viet Nam-GAP haven’t been announced and there isn’t any organisation that is responsible for the standards.

You said the co-operative model hasn’t been effective. If it is well organised, what is its role in fruit cultivation in the Mekong Delta?

Most farmers do business separately. Without co-operation, supermarkets don’t know how to contact producers.

Recently, Metro group has assisted Nam Roi grape co-operative to get a GAP certificate. It is necessary to develop more models like Metro so that there will be better co-operation from production to consumption.

What should fruit growers in the Mekong Delta and across the country do to best make use of the big opportunities that came with Viet Nam joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO)?

We often place a great deal of attention on products for export. But in fact, fruit growers also have to ensure the quality of products for the domestic market.

However, prices should be reduced and packaging should be better.

For example, durian from Viet Nam costs VND25,000 per kg while imported durian from Thailand only costs between VND10,000 to 15,000.

So what are the solutions to help fruit growers in the Mekong Delta region integrate and produce more efficiently?

Firstly, the production of seedlings should be controlled better so that trees suffer from less disease.

Fruits have to meet safe product standards while prices must fall. In addition, the Government needs to promote the signing of plant inspection agreements with other countries so that Vietnamese fruit can be exported to new markets.

Infrastructure in rural areas should be improved and producers need to co-operate through joining or setting up co-operatives to ensure product quantity and quality as well as stable consumption.

Farmers should focus on local specialities so that they can easily meet GAP standards for products.

Enterprises should also co-operate to assist farmers and the State must prioritise farmers for the issue of loans and credit cards

Source: Vietnam News
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