Image of Chi Lang custard apple improved
Chi Lang district in the northern border province of Lang Son is home to close to 1,800 hectares of custard apple, the largest area in the north, this year. The Chi Lang fruit has been listed among the Top 5 golden agricultural brands of Vietnam.
100 million VND for six custard apples
Six custard apples, weighing more than one kilogram each, were exhibited in Ho Chi Minh City and later auctioned for 100 million VND (4,313 USD), Chairman of the Chi Lang People’s Committee Dinh Huu Hoc told a press conference on the 3rd Chi Lang Custard Apple Festival on August 5.
It showed that quality and value of Chi Lang custard apple have been much improved. This season, each of the Chi Lang fruit weighs an average of about 300 grams. Many farms in the communes of Quang Lang, Y Tich and Thuong Cuong and Chi Lang township have harvested the fruit weighing 0.8 – 1.2 kilograms each.
“My family grows 800 custard apple trees,” said Mai Van Thuan, a farmer in Lung Cut village, Dong Mo commune. “This year, we cultivated the trees following instructions from the district division of agriculture and rural development, so the fruit size is much bigger.”
Promotion of Chi Lang custard apple.
Over the last three years, the district has focused on enhancing the fruit quality and outlook, according to Luong Thanh Chung, head of the division. It has coordinated with administrations of communes and township to guide farmers how to apply good agricultural practices, such as GlobalGAP and VietGAP, in custard apple cultivation. Farmers have received technical training on how to use biological pest control, and properly prune the trees, pollinate and harvest the crop.
Thanks to such efforts, the district’s custard apple area expanded to 1,300 hectares in 2016 and 1,800 hectares this year.
The division’s statistics show that Chi Lang has harvested a total of 5,000 tonnes of custard apple from mid-July to the beginning of August.
It is estimated that the district’s output of the fruit would exceed 18,000 tonnes this season, up about 2,000 tonnes from last year’s, said Vice Chairman of the district People’s Committee Vi Nong Truong.
The specialty also fetches higher prices this year. The price of the first-class custard apple, weighing about 0.8 kilogram each, ranges from 70,000 – 80,000 VND per kilogram and the second class, around 40,000 – 50,000 VND.
With increases in both output and price, the district’s People Committee expected revenue from sugar apple would reach 700 – 720 billion VND this year, compared to over 600 billion VND in 2018.
Protection of the specialty fruit’s prestige
In recent years, the province’s and district’s authorities have intensified the promotion and branding of the local custard apple. This year, Chi Lang has provided more than 50,000 traceability stamps and over 20,000 paper boxes to growers, cooperatives and distributors to label and pack their fruits.
Sorting custard apples at a market in Chi Lang township.
Several local growers and agribusinesses have purchased the traceability and paper boxes themselves for their products.
These moves aims to not only boost the image of Chi Lang sugar apple but also help customers to avoid custard apples faked to be grown in the district. The district plans to expand the traceability stamping to pave the way for the specialty fruit to enter foreign markets./.