The director of the plant protection department of Vietnam's Agriculture Ministry, Nguyen Van Huan, has stressed the importance of encouraging the country's commercial fruit growers to protect their crop through a programme called Integrated Pest Management.

The system was first introduced to Vietnam ten years ago, but Huan berated the fact that "few farmers have adopted these methods, and the use of insecticide is growing considerably." Speaking to delegates collected for a seminar on fruit cultivation organised by the Vietnam Gardeners Association and the An Giang Plant Protection Co, Huan revealed that nearly 75% of the 480 fruit growers situated in HCMC and the Mekong Delta provinces of Dong Thap, Tra Vinh and Soc Trang used commercial insecticides.

Adopting the use of IPM methods will improve fruit quality, essential when the Vietnam Fruit Producers Association is formed next month to establish acceptable levels of quality and improve export quotas. Huan suggested instituting courses on IPM methods for farmers keen to "build up productive and quality orchards."