Good price, secured consumption, farmers race to expand orchards
Intercropping in orchards
According to statistics of the Sub-Department of Crop Production, Dak Lak Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there is more than 1,000 ha of passion fruit in the area at the moment.
However, there may have a lot more passion fruit intercropped in coffee, durian, and rubber orchards. The family of Ms. Cao Thi Mai (Chu Kpo commune, Krong Buk district) has nearly 3 ha of passion fruit grown in coffee fields that are in the harvest period. According to Ms. Mai, passion fruit has a large growing area in Dak Lak, demonstrating high economic efficiency for the past 3 - 4 years thanks to low investment and easy caring process.
Her family has joined a passion fruit cooperative in the locality, ready to comply with the co-op’s production procedure. “We don’t have to worry about output when joining the cooperative, so we will continue to expand the planting area. I believe in the near future passion fruit will greatly improve the income of people in Dak Lak,” said Ms. Mai.
Deputy Director of Krong Buk Hi-Tech Passion Fruit Cooperative Dinh Xuan Huong said that passion fruit trees had been growing locally since 2004. At that time the newly grown passion fruit area was small and only received strong investment in the later years.
Each year passion fruit produces two crops with an output of 50 tons/ha. With the current selling price ranging from VND 15,000 to 16,000/kg, passion fruit can provide a good source of income for farmers, hence the growth in its planting area.
In a similar situation, Mr. Nguyen Duc Tien, Head of Supervisory Board of Van Xuan Agricultural Production, Trade and Service Cooperative (Cu Kuin district) said that the unit has more than 200 members with an area of approximately 50 ha of passion fruit. To ensure output, Van Xuan Cooperative is currently affiliated with a product consumption unit. The cooperative therefore does not have to worry about product consumption.
According to Mr. Tien, Cu Kuin district was once famous for pepper, but in recent years pepper has continuously died and lost its value. Van Xuan Cooperative encourages members to take advantage of these areas to convert to passion fruit cultivation.
"We also agree with the product outsourcing unit to expand the area by 70 ha next year. Regardless of the expansion, the cooperative still recommends members follow the purchasing unit’s technical procedure to ensure that passion fruit is accepted for export," said Mr. Tien.
Making full use of the vacant land
Dak Lak has great potential and advantages in agriculture with 650,000 ha of arable land, especially more than 300,000 hectares of basalt red soil. Its flat terrain is very convenient for the development of industrial crops, fruit trees, and medicinal plants.
The locality has been actively implementing the restructuring of crops and the agricultural industry in recent years as the prices of coffee, rubber and pepper have fallen sharply, resulting in inefficient cultivation.
People are gradually switching to planting trees with higher economic efficiency. Passion fruit, in particular, can help farmers gain high economic efficiency, able to replace the inefficient coffee, rubber and pepper.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Minh, Head of Cu Kuin Office of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that recently the district People's Committee had issued a plan to deploy agroproduction linkages in the area to help local agro-products sell well. In face of the rapid increase of fruit planting areas, the district People's Committee has devised a plan to organize the production and consumption of agro-products, including passion fruit. The task of the agricultural sector of Cu Kuin district at present is to plan and develop the region to form farmer organizations.
"In the coming period, Cu Kuin Office of Agriculture and Rural Development will advise the district People's Committee to convert some inefficient land in Cu Ewi and Ea Hu communes to plant other crops, including passion fruit in order to make full use of areas that are vacant or no longer suitable for current crops," Mr. Minh said.
And according to Mr. Vu Duc Con, Deputy Director of Dak Lak Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, localities have yet to secure a preliminary processing and processing facility for passion fruit. However, China has recently announced the importation of fresh passion fruit, so this is the driving force to promote the development of this agro-product.
Authors: Minh Quy - Dang Lam
Translated by Samuel Pham
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