Dragon fruit jam

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The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh is encouraging farmers khổng lồ expand the cultivation of specialty sáp coconut.
Cao Văn Lùng (left), owner of a sáp coconut grove in mong Kè District’s Hoà Tân Commune in Trà Vinh Province, introduces visitors khổng lồ sáp coconuts in his grove. – VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hoà

TRÀ VINH – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh is encouraging farmers to expand the cultivation of specialty sáp coconut.

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The province aims lớn expand the cultivation of the variety by an additional 550ha, taking the total sáp coconut area khổng lồ about 1,200ha, according khổng lồ its Department of Agriculture và Rural Development.

Sáp coconut is used mostly for desserts such as coconut shakes, in which coconut is mixed with milk, sugar và ice.

The variety is the province’s well-known specialty and is planted mostly in mong Kè District, where the soil is suitable for it.

Lê trường Sơn, head of the province’s Plant Cultivation & Protection Sub-department, said farmers are encouraged to grow new sáp coconut trees in mixed or old orchards lớn improve income và meet demand for producing sáp coconut products.

Farmers should grow the nut lớn Vietnamese or global good agricultural practices (VietGAP or GlobalGAP), or organic standards lớn have stable buyers, he said.

The department, in co-operation with localities, will assist farmers to link with companies lớn secure outlets for sáp coconuts, he said.

Thạch Em, who has a 2ha sáp coconut grove in ước Kè’s Hoà Tân Commune, said his family grows the trees under VietGAP standards & the trees began to bear fruit after four years.

He uses advanced cultivating techniques such as providing artificial pollination for the trees to lớn increase the number of sáp coconuts in each bunch.

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A mature sáp coconut tree can produce 120-150 nuts a year, but only 20-40 per cent of the nuts have the soft and thick pulp that qualify them as sáp (sáp literally means wax), và the remaining have normal pulp.

Sáp coconut trees planted under traditional methods normally yield two lớn three sáp coconuts in a bunch while those with advanced cultivating techniques can have five khổng lồ seven sáp coconuts in a bunch, Em said.

Each mature sáp coconut tree provides farmers an income of VNĐ10 million (US$420) a year, he said.

Establishments & companies in the province use sáp coconuts to make products such as jam and candy, according to lớn the sub-department.

The supply of sáp coconuts cannot meet the domestic market demand and the variety is purchased at VNĐ110,000-150,000 ($4.7- 6) a nut, it said.

Nguyễn Thị Cẩm, owner of the Cẩm sáp coconut jam producing establishment in ước Kè town, said: “The supply of sáp coconut has never met the demand.”

The supply of the nut is scare during major festivals such as Lunar New Year and the Đoan Ngọ Festival on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month because of high demand, she said.

Her establishment uses 300-400 sáp coconuts a day lớn make jam lớn sell to sài gòn City & other provinces, she said.

Trà Vinh is the country’s second largest coconut producer after its neighbouring province of Bến Tre.

It has 25,000ha of coconut, including more than 4,000ha of coconut planted khổng lồ organic standards và 722ha of sáp coconut, according lớn the department.

The province is developing a tên thương hiệu for sáp coconuts và registering a geographical indication “Dừa sáp Trà Vinh” for the variety. – VNS