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- Green Growth
|A man works in his grapefruit garden in the southern province of Binh Phuoc. Grapefruits and sweet mandarin have helped many farmers in the province strike it rich.-VNA/VNS Photo|
Nguyen Thanh Hung, who has 100 green skin and pink flesh grapefruit trees in a 4,000sq.m orchard in Thanh Binh Town, said each tree yields an average of 70 fruits a year.
Since they fetch VND40,000 per kilogramme, he hopes to earn around VND300 million (US$13,200) this year, higher than other crops.
In 2014 he began to plant his grapefruit trees, and faced initial difficulties since he was not well-versed in growing them, he said.
“It is easy to grow grapefruit now since I have learnt farming techniques from farmers in other places and from agricultural experts.”
The declining prices and outputs of the province’s key crops like pepper, cashew and rubber in recent years have made many farmers in Bu Dop, which is on the Cambodian border, switch to citrus fruits.
The south-eastern province is the country’s largest cashew producer and one of the largest pepper producers.
The Bu Dop District Agriculture and Forestry Centre has taught local farmers how to grow citrus fruits.
Do Huu Duc, an official at the centre, said farmers who have switched to the fruits now have steady incomes.
Le Dinh Sang in the district’s Tan Thanh Commune said he earned VND2 billion ($88,000) last year from his 1.8ha of king orange and sweet mandarin orchards, two or three times what he might have earned from rice or pepper.
He used to grow rice and vegetables on his 3.8ha farm until, in 2014, he turned 1.8ha into orchards.
This year he is growing king orange and sweet mandarin on another 4ha.
Farmers in Bu Dop have joined hands to grow citrus fruits in large quantities and ensure they are of high quality.
Last year 18 farmers in the district’s Tan Tien Commune set up a co-operative to grow green skin and pink flesh grapefruit on an area of 70ha to Vietnamese and global good agricultural practices (VietGAP and Global GAP) standards.
The co-operative is eyeing exports soon.
Nguyen Van Bac, a member, said: “The demand for green skin and pink flesh grapefruit is huge in both the domestic and foreign markets.”
There is not enough fruit grown to VietGAP standards to meet export demand, he said.
Last year farmers in Bu Dop switched from other crops to growing fruits on more than 100ha, according to the district Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
Local authorities have encouraged farmers to turn low-yield rice fields and pepper farms into orchards.