The commune in Hon Dat District is the largest mango producer in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province, with its weather and soil especially suitable for growing mangoes, especially the specialty Hoa Loc variety.
It has set up the Hon Dat Hoa Loc Mango Co-operative to promote the cultivation of VietGAP quality mangoes and link up with companies to secure outlets.
Nguyen Thanh Do is a member of the co-operative and has been growing VietGAP quality mangoes in the commune’s Hon Me Hamlet in recent years.
The cultivation and post-harvest processes take time and labour but ensure quality and high prices, he said.
Farmers who grow VietGAP-quality mangoes strictly follow standards laid down for fertiliser and chemical use and cover unripe fruits with plastic bags to protect them from pests.
After harvest, the mangoes are classified and labelled with a QR code for origin tracing. Consumers can know the growing process and place and contact address by scanning the code.
VietGAP quality Hoa Loc mango cultivation offers them an income of VND300 million (US$12,800) per hectare a year, according to co-operative members.
Nguyen Thanh Thai, director of the co-operative, said members harvest the fruits twice a year, each time getting a yield of four tons per hectare.
The fruits fetch steady prices since they are preferred by consumers for their high quality, he said.
The co-operative sells to clean agricultural produce shops in Rach Gia City and Phu Quoc District and An Huu Market in Tien Giang Province’s Cai Be District.
Tran Xuan Nghi, chairman of the Hon Dat District Farmers Association, said the association had asked the province Department of Science and Industry for support to create a collective brand name for Hon Dat Hoa Loc Mango.
This would help promote the market and improve the value of the fruit, he said.
Tho Son grows more than 360ha of various varieties of mangoes.
The commune has determined that mango, rice and shrimp are its three agricultural products with high development potential.
Many farmers in the commune with unproductive rice fields and growing fruits and other crops are switching to Hoa Loc and other mango varieties, according to the local People’s Committee.
Nguyen Van Duc of Hon Me Hamlet got a soft loan to grow Hoa Loc mango trees in his orchard, and has earned high incomes. After the success of the first harvests, he planted more trees, he said.
Farmers in the commune have adopted advanced farming techniques to grow mangoes in the off-season to earn higher prices, especially during festivals like Tet (Lunar New Year).