Tien Giang calls for Thai investment in fruit processing

Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:34

Thailand has more than 300,000ha of mango plantations that produces 2.55 million tonnes of the fruit every year. — VNS Photo

by Van Dat

TIEN GIANG (Biz Hub) – Tien Giang Province, a major fruit producer in the country, is keen to have companies from Thailand open processing factories to add value to the fruits and improve farmers' living standards.

The interest was expressed by Tran Kim Mai, Vice Chairwoman of the Tien Giang People's Committee, in talks with Rerngsak Mahavinitchaimontri, Governor of Thailand's Chachoengsao Province.

Mai is part of a Mekong Delta delegation on a fact-finding trip along the Southern Coastal Corridor to five Thailand provinces.

"Calling for investment from Thailand is necessary and important for Tien Giang, because currently, most of the fruit grown in the province are consumed fresh at home or exported to China, Europe and East Asia," Mai told Viet Nam News.

The similarity of conditions between Tien Giang and Chachoengsao presents opportunities for further cooperation, especially in the agricultural sector, Mai told Thai leaders as she visited fish farms and fruit processing facilities in the neighboring country.

Mai said the province now has the Tien Giang Vegetable and Fruit Joint Stock Company, which produces vegetable and fruit juice with German technology.

It also has the Long Uyen Limited Company, which produces frozen fruits.

But there is much more potential for fruit processing in the province, which currently does not have enough warehousing space to store fruits during peak season, putting farmers at the mercy of market manipulators, she said.

"Tien Giang in particular and the Mekong River Delta in general have similar conditions as the five Thai provinces located near the R10 Route, so I see many co-operation opportunities in the future," Mai said.

She said the Thai provinces make a wide variety of products with their fruits, increasing the value of their agricultural produce.

For his part, governor Mahavinitchaimontri said he had been impressed by the rapid development of Viet Nam during recent visits to the country.

"If we co-operate, the economy would grow much faster in the future. I will visit the delta for the third time in the near future. We are now relatives, not partners any more," he told leaders of the Mekong Delta provinces.

Mango opportunity

A representative of the Worraporn Fruits Transmutation Company, which makes several mango products, said they were interested in holding further meetings to assess the potential for opening factories in Viet Nam.

Noting that Thailand has considerable experience in fruit cultivation and processing, Mai suggested that Chachoengsao Province, which has more than 20,000ha of mango orchards, can co-operate with Tien Giang in this area.

Mai, who visited the Worraporn company and another fruit processing cooperative in Thailand's eastern provinces of Chachoengsao and Trat, said she was impressed with the way they stored and processed fruits.

Thailand has more than 300,000ha of mango plantations that produces 2.55 million tonnes of the fruit every year. It is the third largest producer of mangoes in the world.

Fruit basket

Tien Giang is known as the fruit basket of the country, home to more than 10 percent of Viet Nam's fruit cultivation area, but the province does not have a well developed processing industry.

The province is well known for various specialty fruits like the Hoa Loc mango, Lo Ren star apple, Co Co grapefruit, Cho Gao dragon fruit, Tan Lap pineapple, Ngu Hiep durian, and Go Cong cherry.

It has 2,300 hectares dedicated to the Hoa Loc mango.

In order to increase to increase its competitiveness, improve efficiency and ensure sustainable development alongside greater international and regional integration, the province aims to commercialise fruit production, improve fruit quality and reduce production costs, Mai said.

In recent years, Tien Giang growers have consistently improved and upgraded their orchards, and some of them have obtained the coveted Global Good Agriculture Practice (GlobalGAP) certification, built up brand identification for Tien Giang fruit in particular and Vietnamese produce in general on the international market.

The province, which currently has 15 fruit cooperatives and 19 small production groups mainly supported by the State, grows more than 20 types of fruit trees, of which seven have been identified as key plants with a collective trademark.

It's expected that when the Southern Coastal Corridor expands along the Gulf of Thailand, the delta will contribute huge material resources for investors from Thailand or to factories along the route.

Fruits have made remarkable contribution to the province's development. It plans to expand its orchards from the current 70,000ha to roughly 80,000ha in 2015, increasing production to over 1.2 million tonnes of fruits, Mai said.

Besides supporting farmers to expand their gardens and improve fruit quality, the provincial government will also attract investment in processing factories and boost exports, she said.

The province is committed to creating the most favourable conditions for enterprises to operate effectively, she added.

Mai also said that besides agriculrural processing, there was sufficient potential for Tien Giang to co-operate with Thailand in trade and tourism development. — VNS

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