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Time for growing pepper

Update: August, 29/2015 - 12:00

Farmers can make good money from growing black pepper.

Some are so keen on pepper, they are even growing it on land that is not even good for pepper trees.

They have also chopped down other crops, such as coffee and rubber trees, to make more room for pepper trees.

A woman harvests pepper at a household farm in Dak Lak Province.
A woman harvests pepper at a household farm in Dak Lak Province. - VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

DAK LAK  (VNS) — Farmers in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have chopped down some of the area's most essential crops, coffee and rubber, to make room for the possibly more lucrative black pepper plant.

After a rapid increase in Viet Nam's pepper cultivation, the area has reached 80,000 hectares.

According to the Viet Nam Pepper Association, the price of domestic pepper has increased continuously since 2007. It cost VND150,000 (US$6.9) per kilo in early January, and jumped to VND175,000 ($8.1) by the end of the first quarter of this year. The price of export black pepper was nearly $8,800 per tonne, an increase of 35 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The price hike has encouraged farmers to swap their farms for pepper or increase their yield, regardless of if their land can support it or not.

Hoang Phuoc Binh, vice chairman of the Chu Se Pepper Association, said the pepper supply would increase by hundreds of thousands of tonnes if the cultivation area kept increasing at a similar pace. He said the planting was being rushed.

Nguyen Van Cuong, a farmer in Cu M'Gar District's Ea Kpam Commune said he hired five people to chop down rubber trees – rubber was quite cheap and if pepper prices remained stable, it would be worth the investment. The land would be used for pepper plantations, and about 500 rubber trees would be used as pillars to help the pepper grow.

Dao Xuan Vinh, a farmer in Buon Ho Town's Thong Nhat Ward, said he switched two hectares of rubber over to pepper with the hope of making billions of dong in the next few years.

Ho Van Khac and Pham Ngoc Binh, two farmers in Phu Xuan Commune, even filled up a playground and pond to make more land to grow pepper.

Trinh Tien Bo, head of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's cultivation unit, said pepper was planted over 16,000ha, exceeding the goal for 2020 by 1,000ha. The unit estimated that 2,000 more hectares would be planted by the end of the year.

Bo said the biggest concerns were the crops' quality and productivity. The pepper was a sensitive tree that would die en masse without proper cultivation.

The Viet Nam Pepper Association asked the ministry to require local agricultural authorities to help farmers plant the crops correctly and avoid to assure productivity. — VNS

 

GLOSSARY

Farmers in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have chopped down some of the area's most essential crops, coffee and rubber, to make room for the possibly more lucrative black pepper plant.

Black pepper is more lucrative for farmers because it makes them more money.

 

The price of export black pepper was nearly $8,800 per tonne, an increase of 35 per cent compared with the same period last year.

 

Exporting black pepper means selling it to a buyer in another country.

 

The price hike has encouraged farmers to swap their farms for pepper or increase their yield, regardless of if their land can support it or not.

A farm's yield is the amount of a crop one harvests from it.

Hoang Phuoc Binh, vice chairman of the Chu Se Pepper Association, said the pepper supply would increase by hundreds of thousands of tonnes if the cultivation area kept increasing at a similar pace. He said the planting was being rushed.

A cultivation area is where plants are grown. A field is an example of a cultivation area.

Nguyen Van Cuong, a farmer in Cu M'Gar District's Ea Kpam Commune said he hired five people to chop down rubber trees – rubber was quite cheap and if pepper prices remained stable, it would be worth the investment.

If the price of pepper remains stable it does not go up and down.

An investment is an arrangement that involves someone paying money into a project in the hope of later making more money from that project.

Trinh Tien Bo, head of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's cultivation unit, said pepper was planted over 16,000ha, exceeding the goal for 2020 by 1,000ha. The unit estimated that 2,000 more hectares would be planted by the end of the year.

The goal, in this case, means the number of pepper plants that farmers aimed to plant.

To exceed that goal means to plant more.

Bo said the biggest concerns were the crops' quality and productivity. The pepper was a sensitive tree that would die en masse without proper cultivation.

If trees die en masse, they die in great numbers.

 

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

1. To produce pepper, you need to grow it on a tree.

2. Farmers would never remove rubber trees to grow pepper in their place.

3. If farmers do not look after their pepper plantations, the plants could all die.

4. There was a big drop in the price of pepper in the first quarter of this year.

5. Farmer Nguyen Van Cuong destroyed every single one of his rubber trees to make way for pepper.

 

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2015









































 

1. True; 2. False; 3. True; 4. False; 5.  False.

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