New impetus from macadamia – the ‘trillion VND tree’
Macadamia "expert farmer"
The sun slowly settled down behind the hills stretching from Highway 279 to Quai Cang commune, Tuan Giao district (Dien Bien). Under the macadamia floors higher than a person's head, preparing for harvest in October, Nguyen Manh Yen (Quai Cang commune) remained diligent while pruning branches to create canopy, meticulously observing the ground floor to detect mice.
"Technical staff have given detailed instructions. Mice love to eat macadamia nuts. They can feast on up to 30% of macadamia nut yield, so I visit the garden every day and promptly destroy their hiding place by clearing the fences and bushes in the macadamia growing area," Yen said.
Macadamia is a demanding plant, but the soil and climate conditions in the Northwest seem to make a good match. In order to have a healthy, disease-free macadamia tree with the expected fruit quality, Yen was noted from the selection of varieties to planting density. The favorable density is from 205 to 280 trees/ha for normal planting. If it’s intercropping, macadamia needs to keep a density of about 124 trees/ha (9 x 9 m distance) or 138 trees/ha (12 x 6 m distance) when growing with coffee, 124 plants/ha (9 x 9m distance) with pepper, and 111 plants/ha with tea.
Yen knows the techniques “by heart”, and thus he grows macadamia nuts like an expert. "In the North, it is best to plant macadamia in spring. It is necessary to pay attention to handling vegetation, preparing the soil, and clearing the whole area before planting to reduce weeds, pests and diseases and to avoid competition for nutrients. In addition, the soil must be hoeed or plowed thoroughly and weeded 1.5-2m2 around the dug areas. Large roots (over 2cm) must be removed. For places where the land is sloping (about 20 degrees), it is recommended to make stairs along the contour line with the width from 2 to 4 m."
Macadamia of the Northwest walking its own path
According to Dien Bien Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the net planted area accounts for nearly 90% of the nearly 4,000 ha of macadamia in the province. The planted areas are concentrated mainly in the districts of Tuan Giao, Dien Bien, Muong Nhe, Dien Bien Dong, Muong Ang and Dien Bien Phu city.
At Tuan Giao, where about 1,400 ha of macadamia are grown, Vice Chairman of the District People's Committee Pham Thi Tuyen said that there were many forms of linkage between businesses and people in this land. Accordingly, after signing the contract, companies pay the people (land contributors) an amount of money to support occupation change when there is no product in the first five years. In addition, companies commit to recruiting regular workers and giving priority to households that contribute land to the company with an income of VND 4-7 million/person/month, creating frequent jobs for about 150 people and more than 500 part-time workers.
"Greening" sloping land, changing production practices
“In order to concretize the agricultural sector’s restructuring contents, in 2021 the Department has advised the provincial People's Committee to issue a number of projects and plans to promote the agro-forestry production development,” Bui Minh Hai, Director of Dien Bien Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said.
After nearly 10 years of restructuring, Dien Bien has initially formed concentrated production areas, produced according to technical procedures and standards, and developed into commodity industries. Besides macadamia, rubber has also made an important contribution to socio-economic development as well as ensuring social security for the people of this land.
High economic efficiency trees such as macadamia and rubber not only maintain and improve Dien Bien’s forest cover rate but also significantly change the farming practices and methods of ethnic minorities, forming industrial mindset and conduct in labor and production. The implementation of the projects also contributes to the development of infrastructure (electricity lines, residential roads, domestic water) in localities.
In the coming period, Dien Bien will create more conditions to promote the implementation of three-party linkage models (government - businesses – people). One of which is to speed up the allocation of forestry land without forests and granting land use right certificates according to Plan No. 2783/KH-UBND dated September 20, 2019 of Dien Bien People's Committee to create a legal basis for the linkage.
Dien Bien Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will also develop policies to prioritize and support the establishment of cooperatives in project areas in order to create a bridge between people and businesses. Cooperatives will be the focal point for information, helping investors to encourage and mobilize people to participate in the project and solve land-related difficulties during the implementation process.
Authors: Bao Thang – Pham Hieu
Translated by Samuel Pham
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