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Dr. Mai Thanh Phung, chief of the National Agriculture ExtensionCentre’s Ho Chi Minh City office, said pineapple is among the world’smost important fruits and has an output of 20 million tonnes a year,half of this grown in Asia.
“Though Vietnam is among thetop 10 pineapple producing countries, it does not figure in the list ofpineapple exporting countries,” he said.
He attributed this to the lack of post-harvest and processing technologies in the country and inconsistent quality.
The country has around 40,000ha under pineapple, which yield more than500,000 tonnes a year, with the south accounting for 90 percent of thearea, he said.
Many farmers in Vi Thanh city and Long Mydistrict of Hau Giang, and Tan Phuoc district of Tien Giang provincehave benefited from growing the fruit.
Nguyen Van Dam of theTan Phuoc agriculture extension office said pineapple is grown on 14,800ha in the province, mostly in his district.
With an average yield of 20 tonnes per hectare, farmers earn a profit of 25 million VND per hectare a year, he said.
“The province plans to expand the area under pineapple to 16,000 haand increase application of VietGap standards in growing the fruit,” hesaid.
But delegates agreed that the lack of stable markets forthe fruit, volatile prices, diseases, and poor post-harvest andprocessing technologies threaten sustainable development.
Nguyen Trinh Nhat Hang of the Southern Fruit Research Institute saidlocal authorities should cooperate with related agencies to providepineapple farmers with market information and advanced farmingtechniques, and create a sustainable consumption strategy for the fruit.
Provinces should make zoning plans for VietGap pineapplecultivation areas and adopt policies to encourage farmers to applyVietGap standards, which will improve the fruit quality and enable thecountry to meet large export orders, she said.
Phung urgedagricultural extension centres to organise training courses to raiseawareness among farmers about GAP and instruct them in GAPproduction techniques.
“Scientists should strengthen research to create new high quality seedlings and improve cultivation practices,” he said.
He called for establishing closer links between enterprises and farmers, with the former ensuring outlets for the fruit.
Vo Mai, deputy chairwoman of the Vietnam Gardening Association, urgedbusinesses to focus on developing brands for Vietnamese pineapple.
Farmers called on the Government to give them preferential loans andbuild more pineapple processing factories to enable exports so that theycould feel more secure.-VNA
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