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Fruit sales rise on higher quality   2008-05-21 - VNA

More consumers are buying domestic fruit than imports, as the quality has increased in recent years, according to industry experts.

Nguyen Minh Chau, head of the Southern Fruit Research Institute, said provinces in the Mekong Delta have applied Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) standards, which has raised the sanitary standards of locally grown fruit.

The Tien River Good Agriculture Practices network, which covers the provinces of Tien Giang, Long An, Ben Tre, Dong Thap, Vinh Long and Ho Chi Minh City , has helped to further the application of GAP.

The network has set up special fruit zones, eyeing not only export markets but also local consumers, Chau said.

Training courses for farmers on applying GAP standards have been offered, covering seeding cultivation, harvesting and packing.

GAP standards also call for a reduction in fertilisers and pesticides.

According to fruit traders, local consumers now prefer local fruit over imports because locally grown products do not have preservatives.

Chau said the delta will develop nine kinds of speciality fruits to 2010: green-skin pomelo, mangosteen, thick-fleshed and small-seed durian, thich-skinned orange, Nam Roi pomelo, Ri. 6 durian, Lo Ren star apple, Hoa Loc mango and dragonfruit.

The delta targets 250,000ha of nine kinds of speciality fruit in 2010, with annual output of 600,000 tonnes and annual export value of 35-40 million USD.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, however, warned that each province should limit the number of speciality fruits it plants, and instead focus on using advanced farming techniques and high quality seedings.

The delta currently has a total of 300,000ha planted with 30 kinds of fruit. It is the largest fruit cultivation area in the country, with 40 percent of the total planting area.

Tien Giang province has 70,000ha of seven kinds of fruits, including Hoa Loc mangoes, Tan phuoc pineapples, Vinh Kim star apples and Cho Gao dragonfruit.

Vinh Long province is zoning 2,000ha to plant durian in Vung Liem and Mang Thit districts. It is also planning a Nam Roi Pomelo and king organge cultivation zone.

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