Chau Thanh District, Tien Giang Province is the unique source of the Lo Ren star apple. The Hung reports on farmers’ efforts to share their fruit with the world.

Sitting back to enjoy a ripened piece of the fruit, many people wonder why this special variety of star apple bears the name Lo Ren, Vietnamese for "forge". Expecting a story as juicy and flavourful as the fruit itself, few are satisfied with the simple explanation that the first such fruit tree was planted near a forge, or that the first person to cultivate the tree and pick its fruit was a blacksmith.../..

In 2006, Vinh Kim Commune established its Lo Ren Star Apple Co-operative. According to Le Van Son, the co-operative’s deputy director, local farmers were determined to bring the fruit to the country’s major markets in Ha Noi and HCM City as well as to reach foreign markets.

Recently, New Zealand’s SGS Company granted a Globalgap certificate to Vinh Kim Commune’s Lo Ren Star Apple Co-operative.

There are currently 19 households growing fruit that meets Globalgap standards, on an area of 7.9ha. The Globalgap standard is primarily designed to reassure consumers about how food is produced on the farm by minimising the detrimental environmental impacts of farming operations, reducing the use of chemical inputs and ensuring a responsible approach to worker health and safety as well as animal welfare.

Son affirms that only the fruit produced according to Globalgap standards are exported.

"Upon harvesting the fruit, farmers have to record how many fruit were cut on which day, from which tree, Son explained.

"When packing them for export, co-operative members are also required to note clearly which fruit are from which household so they can trace the fruit back in case a problem occurs.

Each week the co-operative exports about 7 tonnes of fruit to Russia, and demand keeps rising. Customers asking for higher and higher volumes put us on the hot spot. To meet the increasing demand we will have to multiply the households applying Globalgap standard."

The Lo Ren star apple can be found growing in 13 communes of Chau Thanh District on a total area of 2,300ha. The province’s agriculture authority plans to increase the area to 5,000ha in 2015. — VNS

This news material was first published on Vietnam News.

About SGS

The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognized as the global benchmark in quality and integrity. With more than 50,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1'000 offices and laboratories around the world.