The southern province of Ben Tre plans to develop its renowned “Xiem” coconut exports by increasing its market value and researching farming technologies and techniques.
Bui Duong Thuat, director of Mekong Impex Fresh Fruit Company Ltd, said that despite Ben Tre “Xiem” coconuts receiving a geographical indication (signs to indicate that a product originates from a specific region and possesses its associated qualities), it did not help improve the product’s competitiveness in markets abroad.
He said that Ben Tre’s coconuts still could not compete with Thailand’s coconuts, due to their higher quality and cheaper production costs. As of March 22, Thailand coconuts were sold at 0.89 USD per coconut at supermarkets in California, the US, while Ben Tre coconuts, which are considered to be of lesser quality, were sold at 0.6 USD.
Ben Tre plans to increase its coconut’s brand power by creating a network between coconut farmers and businesses, reducing the cost of productions, providing funding for studying technology and techniques in coconut farming, as well as increasing land for coconut farming by 20 percent.
Farmers were also urged to work with cooperative groups and apply VietGap standards in their farming to ensure higher quality coconuts.
Ben Tre is famous for its coconuts, having around 70,000 hectares of land for coconut farming. Around 600 million coconuts are grown every year, yielding 5.4 trillion VND (237.9 million USD) annually.
Its coconuts are sold in several foreign markets, such as Canada, US and Australia.