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Mr. ‘Minh Pomelo’ and the passion for technology application

Think differently, act differently

Mr. ‘Minh Pomelo’ and the passion for technology application

Mr. Minh’s pomelo orchard in Bach Dang commune. Photo: Tran Trung.

For a long time, Bach Dang islet has been described as a “paradise of pomelo” with a total area of about 600 ha. In addition to the main pomelo varieties such as green skin pomelo, this place is also famous for sugar pomelo, guava pomelo (as its shape resembles guava) and the unique pink pomelo.

After many years of accumulating experience, growers in Bach Dang commune have attained the ability to "control" the pomelo tree to bear fruit at will. Thanks to production procedures following VietGAP standards, Bach Dang pomelo possesses high economic value and becomes one of the key products in the locality.

Following Mr. Nguyen Minh Sang, Vice Chairman of Bach Dang People's Committee, we visited the pomelo orchard of Mr. Vo Van Minh, one of the seasoned farmers who pioneered the application of VietGAP procedures to pomelo farming which bring outstanding results.

Mr. Sang (left) was excited to hear Mr. Minh introducing the VietGAP farming procedures. Photo: Tran Trung.

Holding a large, round, ripe pomelo in his hand, Mr. Minh started telling us his story.

“I am a son of this Bach Dang land, and my family owns the largest pomelo growing area here. But in the past I did not want to inherit the family’s business. After obtaining a degree in forestry engineering, I tested myself in various economic fields. Only after 2000 did I leave the city and come back home to succeed the pomelo orchard as per my father’s wish. It was hard at first, planting the pomelo orchard anew. The experiences my father passed down to me were all paths of traditional practice, but what I want is to apply science and technology in production to create the best products.”

In order to make pomelos look more appealing while avoiding stem rotting and skin yellowing due to the sun, Mr. Minh takes advantage of the cloth coverages to make a substrate for the fruits. Photo: Tran Trung.

Surrounded by many people growing pomelos using their vast experience but lack of technical application, he did not dare to speak up because he thought of himself as a latecomer, if not careful he may be criticized as "the eggs think they're smarter than the chickens" However, he still held firm to his determination, quietly developing a pomelo orchard with the hope that his success will convince many people to learn and follow. And his wish came true as he has been recognized by many as the "number one" pomelo grower in Bach Dang.

“Pomelo cultivation is a profession with a long history in this land, so the experience left by the forefathers is precious beyond measure, but it is important to know how to apply the experience accordingly. To give a simple example regarding the story of whitewashing for pomelo trees, many people think that it is to prevent some fungi, so they only sweep at the base, but my thoughts are different. Lime can actually add certain necessary substances to pomelo trees, so I use a lime sprayer for my pomelo trees, both to prevent the harmful fungi and to increase production efficiency.”

Mr. Minh shares farming secrets with a cooperative member. Photo: Tran Trung.

After more than ten years of working with pomelo trees, Mr. Minh has become a veteran farmer of Bach Dang pomelo. His family's pomelo orchard only grows sugar pomelos, and the trees are always healthily green with stable yield. With about 1 ha of pomelo, Mr. Minh earns VND 500-600 million annually. He has also mastered the art of pomelo off-season flowering, meeting market demand at will.

Something more important

According to Mr. Minh, success in the production process is important, but how to connect pomelo orchard owners and the whole region together to improve the value of pomelo is even more important. “Only by joining forces can we improve the level of production and deeply process products to increase income for pomelo growers.” For that reason, he stood up to mobilize local people to establish a cooperative group for growing pomelo, now known as Bach Dang Pomelo Cooperative.

Mr. Minh introducing the method of distilling wine from pomelo at home. Photo: Tran Trung.

In order to avoid the situation of good harvest but bad selling price, Mr. Minh took a great effort to study, research and perfect the processing procedure from raw input processing, wine brewing and distilling to extracting essential oils, soaking and drying jams, which result in an increase in the overall value of the pomelo trees.

"The diversification of products will help us reach a broad range of customers. I think this is a great move to promote and spread the image and reputation of the hometown pomelos far and wide," said Mr. Minh.

The products developed by Mr. Minh and the cooperative are decorated in a neat corner so that customers and visitors coming to the farm can easily learn more about them. Photo: Tran Trung.

Products such as pomelo essential oil, pomelo jam, pomelo wine have been registered with the trademark "Hai Duong". The cooperative is pushing the registration process for distribution procedures at the Coop Mart system and on the MyVietel website. Products bearing the "Hai Duong" brand are committed to producing according to the safety chain from the gardener to harvesting and processing. The cooperative will continue to call on growers to join the cooperative to bring this "indigenous resource" to its full potential in the best way possible.

Authors: Tran Trung - Thanh Son

Translated by Samuel Pham

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