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Developing the brand and expanding the market for Chi Lang custard apple

The district of Chi Lang in Lang Son province is well-known as the "capital" of  custard apple, covering a total area of over 2,200 hectares. Chi Lang custard apples are renowned for their high-quality characteristics, featuring uniformly large fruit, smooth and taut skin, pinkish-white flesh, thick pulp, and a sweet and refreshing taste with minimal seeds.

Luong Thanh Chung, the head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Chi Lang district, stated that the entire district has approximately 2,300 hectares dedicated to custard apple cultivation. Currently, around 2,000 hectares are in the harvesting season. Among these, 35 hectares follow the GlobalGAP standard (Good Agricultural Practices globally), and 800 hectares adhere to the VietGAP standard (Good Agricultural Practices in Vietnam). Chi Lang district boasts three custard apple products from Dong Mo town, Chi Lang commune, and Y Tich commune that have received the 4-star OCOP (One Commune, One Product) certification, part of the program where each commune promotes a specific product. Additionally, custard apples from Chi Lang town have been certified as a 3-star OCOP product.

The region of Na Chi Lang is mainly concentrated in the communes of Chi Lang, Mai Sao, Thuong Cuong, Van Linh, Y Tich, Hoa Binh, Chi Lang town, and Dong Mo town. The estimated cultivation area is over 2,300 hectares, with a projected yield of 20,000 tons (including both seasonal and off-season  custard apples) and an expected revenue of around 700 billion VND. Due to the dominant mountainous terrain, Chi Lang  custard apples are cultivated on high rocky slopes. The local residents have ingeniously crafted "pulleys," a type of cable system, to harvest  custard apples from the mountaintops down to the foothills. This cable system runs from the mountaintop down to the base. The cable consists of two sturdy segments parallelly hooked onto the rim of a bicycle wheel. As two baskets of  custard apple descend, two empty baskets are simultaneously pulled up by the cable system.

The journey of establishing the Chi Lang custard apple brand in the broader market

The province has successfully built a production and consumption linkage for Chi Lang custard apple, organizing key connection points to introduce and distribute Chi Lang custard apple in Hanoi. Currently, Chi Lang custard apples are available in numerous supermarkets and major commercial centers nationwide.

Especially in 2023, many farmers in Chi Lang district have opened stalls on e-commerce platforms and conducted live streams for "selling custard apples from the orchard" through social media applications. This approach aligns with technological trends for promotion, introduction, and market expansion. It can be said that Chi Lang custard apples are now widely recognized in the domestic market, distributed in a network of supermarkets and large food stores, with an increasing preference among consumers.

China is also considered a potential market for Chi Lang custard apple, albeit with limited exports. In the coming time, Chi Lang district and Lang Son province as a whole aim to promote and expand exports to China through official channels, with a focus on exploring markets in demanding countries worldwide, such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

Chi Lang custard apples have undergone nearly half a century of development to become a flagship agricultural product of Lang Son province. This fruit has successfully built a robust brand, helping many local highland farmers improve their lives. There are high expectations for even greater success in the future.

In 2011, Chi Lang custard apples were officially recognized by the Intellectual Property Office (Ministry of Science and Technology) with the registration of the trademark "Na Chi Lang" for custard apple products originating from Chi Lang district, Lang Son province. The Vietnam Record Organization established a record for the specialty "Na Chi Lang," recognizing it among the Top 50 famous fruit specialties in Vietnam according to the criteria for announcing the value of Vietnamese specialties. Furthermore, the Chi Lang custard apple brand was included in the Top 50 specialty fruits of Vietnam and honored as a Vietnam Agriculture Gold Brand in 2017. In 2018, Chi Lang custard apple received recognition from the Vietnam Farmers' Union, being awarded a gold cup and certification for being among the top 10 agricultural gold brands in Vietnam.

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