|Scene at the ground-breaking ceremony to start construction of Vina T&T's fresh coconut processing plant in Ben Tre (Photo: tuoitrethudo.com.vn)
Costing VND200 billion (US$8.55 million), the plant named Kim Thanh, with designed production capacity of 25 million coconuts per year, is expected to become operational in 2019, with its products to be exported to North America and Australia.
According to Nguyen Dinh Tung, General Director of the Vina T&T Group, Vietnamese fresh coconuts exported to the US had to compete with its Thai peers which have already established a firm foothold in the market. The group now has been able to increase its volume of exported coconut to the country to five containers (equivalent to 100,000 fruits) per week from one container in the past.
Between January and October this year, the company shipped 4 million coconuts to the US, Canada, and Australia, up 38% year on year.
Vina T&T sources most of its coconuts from the Mekong Delta region, including Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Long An, and Tra Vinh.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam’s coconut plantations cover about 166,000 hectares, of which more than 70,000 hectares are located in Ben Tre.