Trang Dinh works to boost export of “grass jelly” plant via official channel
(LSO) – Trang Dinh district of Lang Son province is home to over 1,200ha of the platostoma palustre plant, which is used to produce grass jelly. The main export market is China, but platostoma palustre leaves have just been shipped via the small-scale cross-border trading channel. To promote the export to the Chinese market, Trang Dinh has been taking numerous measures during the cultivation, harvesting and preservation process to meet export standards.
In late September, a delegation of officials from the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Trang Dinh district had a working session with Chinese plant quarantine experts in Lang Son. They also examined platostoma palustre growing areas and post-harvest processing facilities in the district.
After the session and the fact-finding trip, head of the Chinese delegation Fu Haibing said the local platostoma palustre farming areas have basically met safety standards for export to China.
Workers of Duc Quy Production and Investment Co. Ltd process and sort platostoma palustre leaves.
However, the Chinese experts also pointed out some problems Trang Dinh should address. Particularly, they asked the province to pay special attention to dealing with residues of plant protection products, ensuring environmental hygiene during harvesting and preservation, setting regulations for workers to comply with when entering processing workshops, and keeping pests away from farming areas.
To boost the export of platostoma palustre to China through the official channel, coordination among relevant agencies of Vietnam and China is needed. However, at first, farmers need to adhere to growing and preservation requirements to ensure products’ eligibility for export.
To do this, Trang Dinh has carried out many measures like issuing a resolution on developing the platostoma palustre plant, working with agriculture and forestry research institutes to apply better cultivation practices, and opening training courses on growing and preservation techniques. Since the beginning of 2019, the agricultural service centre and the agriculture and rural development division of Trang Dinh have coordinated with specialised agencies of Lang Son province and authorities of local communes and townships to organise 10 training classes in organic platostoma palustre production.
Nguyen Van Dung, director of the agricultural service centre of Trang Dinh, said in the previous years, some farmers still used herbicides and plant protection products, while harvesting had yet to meet cleanliness standards. In 2019, the centre has promoted communications to dissuade farmers from using herbicides or plant protection products and encourage good harvest practices.
This year, the district will implement a standardised platostoma palustre production model on 14ha of land in seven communes, namely Kim Dong, Tan Tien, Vinh Tien, Cao Minh, Doan Ket, Khanh Long and Chi Minh, beginning in the 2019-2020 winter-spring crop. Cultivation outcomes will serve as the basis for expanding the model across the district afterwards.
At the same time, Trang Dinh will also support members of the district’s platostoma palustre production and business association with 900 million VND (38,800 USD) to develop packages and labels.
Chairman of the Trang Dinh People’s Committee Ly Van Lam said to raise local platostoma palustre products’ value to boost the export to other countries via the official channel, the district has directed specialised units and communal-level administrations to encourage and instruct local farmers to apply organic farming techniques. By using different capital sources, it has helped with production connectivity under value chains and origin label and package development.
The district is also working with the Institute for Forestry Research and Development (under Thai Nguyen University) to seek ways to improve soil and select the best platostoma palustre varieties for cultivation./.