June 29, 2022 | 12:54 GMT +7

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Wednesday- 10:38, 08/06/2022

Farmers 'win big' in growing organic dragon fruit

(VAN) 'Organic dragon fruit is never unmarketable as I get 7 harvests a year. If I light up, I can get 2 more harvests at the beginning and at the end of the year.'

The fruit that never brings in a loss

 Da Do, the land upstreams of Lach Tray River, was once famous for its specialty of Bat Trang lychee but now, people in Truc Trang ward have converted to growing organic dragon fruit to get high and stable income.

Mr. Vu Van My, a dragon fruit grower in Truc Trang ward, Bat Trang commune in An Lao district, Hai Phong city who owns a 2ha dragon fruit garden, excitedly said that his family used to grow lychee with good income but it's still different from growing dragon fruit. 

Mr. Vu Van My, a dragon fruit grower in Bat Trang commune, An Lao district. Photo: Dinh Muoi.

Mr. Vu Van My, a dragon fruit grower in Bat Trang commune, An Lao district. Photo: Dinh Muoi.

According to My, with such an area, his family plant nearly 200 litchi trees from which he can earn more than VND100 million per year, but the material cost and labor are huge, not including the fluctuated price and high risk of crop failure.

Meanwhile, since he changed to growing dragon fruit, his family can get between 7-9 harvests per year with each bringing about VND50 million after deducting expenses.

“Growing dragon fruit is quite easy. No need to spray pesticides and only 2 lightning times a year. Each time lasts for 2 days and costs about VND20 million of electricity so I can earn about VND100 million more. This is a tree without loss... but it can bring in a profit of 9-10 times higher than rice," My confirmed.

Truc Trang ward is the place to grow the most dragon fruit in Bat Trang commune. The whole ward now has more than 50ha of dragon fruit.

More than 50ha of inefficient rice in Truc Trang ward now has been changed to growing dragon fruit. Photo: Dinh Tung.

More than 50ha of inefficient rice in Truc Trang ward now has been changed to growing dragon fruit. Photo: Dinh Tung.

Mr. Nguyen Van Truong - Director of Truc Trang Organic Cooperative said that using organic fertilizers in growing dragon fruit is the best way to ensure the healthiest and most productive growth for the plants.

From the beginning to the end of the crop, about VND4-7 million should be spent for fertilizer and plant protection drugs in 1 sao/year.

Due to the soil, dragon fruit grown in Hai Phong often has a stronger taste than many other places. It can bring in an average income of about VND25 million/sao/year, depending on the age of the garden and the care of each household.

“We have been growing dragon fruit for more than 10 years, there has never been a failure or loss. Last year we sold VND17,000/kg and farmers are looking forward to stabilizing at a higher price, about VND20,000/kg because the fruit is grown organically," said Truong.

No use of pesticides

According to Truong, dragon fruit growers in Truc Trang village all apply organic growing methods following the authorities' instructions so the plants are very strong and resistant to diseases. Currently, some plants have been grown for more than 10 years, but they are still very healthy giving large fruit with good yield.

Mr. Nguyen Van Truong - Director of Truc Trang Cooperative shared with PV about the efficiency of dragon fruit cultivation. Photo: Dinh Muoi.

Mr. Nguyen Van Truong - Director of Truc Trang Cooperative shared with PV about the efficiency of dragon fruit cultivation. Photo: Dinh Muoi.

Hai Phong Agricultural Extension Center reported that soil conditions in Bat Trang commune in particular and An Lao district, in general, are good and the area of growing dragon fruit there can be expanded.

The Center has implemented a model of changing the inefficient rice-growing into cultivating flowers and fruit trees following the VietGAP process associated with product consumption.

Farmers there are benefiting from new techniques such as new fertilizer formula ensuring adequate nutrition for plants, limiting pests and diseases, using LED lights to handle flowering, additional pollination, and fruit packaging.

Officials from Hai Phong Agricultural Extension Center train farmers to apply new techniques. Photo: Dinh Tung.

Officials from Hai Phong Agricultural Extension Center train farmers to apply new techniques. Photo: Dinh Tung.

The new model has helped change the perception and production practices, contributed to improving standards in the application of new scientific and technological advances in cultivation, solved the issue of deserted fields, and boosted restructuring of the agricultural industry.

The Center has supported, consulted and connected cooperatives to gradually build traceability stamps, introduce and promote products, and enhance consumption at clean food stores in Hai Phong.

Farmers are excited with 'clean' products that they have made. Photo: D. Muoi.

Farmers are excited with 'clean' products that they have made. Photo: D. Muoi.

To improve productivity, growers need to apply new technical models such as the truss garden design, pollination, fruit wrapping, electric towers, etc.

The authorities need to continue to support the restructuring model, especially using monochromatic LED lights in the treatment of off-season flowering for dragon fruit plants.

It should continue to pay attention to support equipment for factories, pre-processing and packing houses... along with a boost of consumption links so that farmers can feel secure in production. It should also continue to support other fruit trees of high economic value, assist the traceability of agricultural products in order to build brands, and contribute to restructuring agriculture and enhancing new rural development.

Mr. Phan Viet Huy - Vice Chairman of Bat Trang Commune People's Committee said: "In the past, lychee was the main source of income. Many farmers got rich from lychee. However, now, the lychee area is decreasing and the fruit is no longer occupies a unique position in Bat Trang. Following the authorities instructions, farmers have partly switched to growing dragon fruit, intercropping apples, longan and some other fruit trees... to ensure year-round revenue."

Authors: Dinh Muoi - Dinh Tung

Translated by Linh Nguyen

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