According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Tien Giang province, the output of coconut products in the province, especially fresh coconuts, is relatively stable in recent years.
Although its the economic efficiency is not as high as durian, jackfruit, dragon fruit, etc., the income from the coconut is relatively good and stable. Moreover, as it has been proved to effectively adapt to unpredictable developments of climate change, coconut has been chosen for cultivation by farmers in the freshwater coastal areas of Go Cong and Tan Phu Dong Districts.
The cultivation of Malaysian coconut is flourising in Tien Giang Province. The total area growing coconut trees in the locality is estimated at 3.400 hectares.
According to coconut growers, this coconut variety produces small fruit that could weight from 1.5 - 2 kg each on average. Its juice has sweet taste and is preferred by the domestic market. The tree is ready for harvest after about three years. The productivity is high, yielding around 20 fruits and even up to 30 fruits per cluster that could be harvested after 20 to 25 days throughout the year. Coconuts are purchased by traders from VND3 to 8,000 per fruit depending on the time of the year and consumed in the form of fresh juice.
In Thanh Nhut Commune, Go Cong Tay district, the area of Malaysian coconut has increased rapidly in recent years, cover a total area of over 350ha, as many local farmers have converted from rice to coconut farming. Meanwhile, the area producing fruit is 182ha.
Nguyen Hoai Linh, a farmer who is owning a 4-year-old 4,500sq.m Malaysian coconut garden in Binh Tay Hamlet, Thanh Nhut Commune, happily said that the model has brought stable income for his family over the past year.
““My garden has a total of 180 coconut trees. The trees could be harvested after three years. The traders have frequently visited my gardens to buy coconuts every month for over a year now. I sold 1,300 fruits a few days ago with the price of VND7,000 each. Coconut costs VND7-8,000/fruit in the dry season and the price drops to VND3-4,000/fruit during the rainy season. I sell at least 2,000 fruits every month, earning a monthly income of over VND15 million after minusing all the cost. I find the fruits economically effective compared to many other crops, especially rice. More importantly, coconuts are well consumed in the country without concern of stagnation,” he said.
Another farmer, Ngo Hoai Lam, who also lives in Binh Tay hamlet, also expressed his excitement, saying that his family's Malaysian coconut garden has been harvested 10 times since they converted from rice to the fruit cultivation.
According to him, coconuts are well adapted to the natural conditions of this land. He added that planting coconuts is easy to take care of because they only need to be cultivated with fertilizers and sprayed with insecticides to prevent beetles twice times per month. In his spare time, he could do other jobs such as animal husbandry
Huynh Anh Ho, Vice Chairman of Thanh Nhut Commune People's Committee added: "Malay coconuts are mainly consumed through the system of local traders. Recently, the cultivation of coconuts in the commune is developing strongly. The Commune People's Committee, supported by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Agricultural Service Center, is building an organic coconut area adapting VietGAP standards with stable consumption links with 2 businesses: Hamona and Thabico.
However, Ho as well as the functional sector of Tien Giang province are concerned that the area associated with the consumption of Malaysian coconut is still quite low so supply might exceed demand and therefore lead to difficulties in consumption like other agricultural products such as dragon fruit, jackfruit, among others.
Vo Van Men, Head of Plantation and Plant Protection Sub-Department of Tien Giang Province said: "Fresh coconuts are consumed within the province and in neighboring provinces, mainly in Ho Chi Minh City and the Southeast region."
Therefore, Men noted that it is not advisable to develop more Malaysian coconut areas but focus on improving product quality, creating stable output for the existing coconut area.
For farmers who want to develop more coconut cultivation areas, Men recommended that they carefully research market information and join cooperatives for stable output.
Regarding problem of pests and diseases, blackhead worms have appeared to attack some coconut areas of people in Cho Gao district. The Sub-department has suppressed the epidemic, initially stopping the spread of this harmful worm. However, Men also recommended that farmers visit the garden regularly to detect pests early and take effective measures to prevent their spread.
Translated by Phuong Ha
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