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Sweetness taken away from sugar palm trees

Update: October, 18/2015 - 12:00

For many years, farmers in the Cuu Long Delta have found their sugar palm trees to be very useful.

They have managed to sell the sweet juice from the trees.

Tapping the juice from the trees has not made them lots of money but it has always made them some money on which to get by.

Now, people are buying their trees for gardens at tourist resorts and they are in danger of losing this way of often making a little bit of money.

Sugar palm trees take some years to grow before they produce the juice. Once they are of age, they produce the juice for a long, long time.

Sugar palm trees in the southern province of An Giang. Agricultural experts are concerned about how the sale of the trees will damage the landscape.
Sugar palm trees in the southern province of An Giang. Agricultural experts are concerned about how the sale of the trees will damage the landscape. -VNS Photo Doan Tung

AN GIANG (VNS) — Agricultural experts are concerned about the sale of thot not or sugar palm (Palmyra) trees in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang to landscapers.

It takes from 12 to 16 years for sugar palm trees to grow to full height. They can only be harvested after 20 years, but can produce juice for about 55 years, so farmers should keep the trees for long-term economic benefits.

Over the past month, many traders have visited the mountain districts of Tri Ton and Tinh Bien to buy sugar palm trees, Tin tuc (News) reported.

Local authorities said they knew about the situation but faced obstacles in dealing with the trading of sugar palm trees as they were not on the list of the Government's endangered species.

Tran Anh Thu, director of An Giang Province's Agriculture and Rural Development, said about 190 trees had been sold with prices ranging from VND250,000 (US$11) to 500,000 ($22.5) per tree aged from 10 to 20 years.

Inspections revealed that brokers had been negotiating for the purchase of 6,000 sugar palms with heights of between four and six metres.The trees are resold to parks and resorts in northern provinces.

Nguyen Van Hoa, director of the Southern Fruit Research Institute, said sugar palms were a part of the Khmer community.

He said the mass sale of the trees would affect the landscape and culture of the entire region.

Thu, director of An Giang province's Agriculture and Rural Development, said the trees helped eradicate poverty.

Chau Khen, a resident from Tri Ton District's Chau Lang Commune, said although sugar palms did not create high economic benefits, they created a stable income.

With 27 palm trees, his family produced 20kg of palm sugar a day, earning VND320,000 per day, he said.

"Many villagers have sold palm trees after receiving offers from traders, but my family will never sell them", Khen said, adding that the money gained after selling the trees were just enough for his family in three months while the income from palm sugar making lasted from year to year.

An Giang Province now has about 65,000 sugar palm trees, concentrated in Tri Ton and Tinh Bien.

People can also use the leaves to make handicrafts apart from tapping the sap collected from palm flowers.

According to manufacturers in An Giang Province, the quantity of sap collected from the inflorescence of sugar palm trees presently does not meet demand.

This could eventually affect the lives of 5,000 labourers engaged in production. Of these, 75 per cent are of Khmer ethnicity.

Thu said the Agriculture and Rural Development Department proposed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development include sugar palm trees in the list of endangered species. — VNS

GLOSSARY

Agricultural experts are concerned about the sale of thot not or sugar palm (Palmyra) trees in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang to landscapers.

Landscapers are people who design open spaces, which they decorate with plants.

It takes from 12 to 16 years for sugar palm trees to grow to full height. They can only be harvested after 20 years, but can produce juice for about 55 years, so farmers should keep the trees for long-term economic benefits.

Long-term economic benefits are good and useful things that come to you if you are patient.

Local authorities said they knew about the situation but faced obstacles in dealing with the trading of sugar palm trees as they were not on the list of the Government's endangered species.

Obstacles are things that get in your way when you are trying to get something done.

An endangered species is a type of plant or animal that is in danger of dying out.

Inspections revealed that brokers had been negotiating for the purchase of 6,000 sugar palms with heights of between four and six metres.

The purchase of sugar palms means the buying of the trees.

He said the mass sale of the trees would affect the landscape and culture of the entire region.

If there is a mass sale of trees, many are sold at once.

Thu, director of An Giang province's Agriculture and Rural Development, said the trees helped eradicate poverty.

To eradicate poverty means to put an end to people being poor.

Chau Khen, a resident from Tri Ton District's Chau Lang Commune, said although sugar palms did not create high economic benefits, they created a stable income.

A stable income is money that comes in regularly and in much the same amount.

An Giang Province now has about 65,000 sugar palm trees, concentrated in Tri Ton and Tinh Bien.

If palm trees are concentrated in Tri Ton and Tinh Bien, most of them grow there, probably quite close to one another.

People can also use the leaves to make handicrafts apart from tapping the sap collected from palm flowers.

Sap is juice from a tree.

According to manufacturers in An Giang Province, the quantity of sap collected from the inflorescence of sugar palm trees presently does not meet demand.

An inflorescence is a bunch of flowers.

If the quantity of sap presently does not meet demand, there is not enough of it right now. People want more than there is available.

This could eventually affect the lives of 5,000 labourers engaged in production.

Labourers are workers.

Of these, 75 per cent are of Khmer ethnicity.

An ethnicity is a word to describe people of the same language, culture, language, race and religion.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false.

1.      If a farmer plants a sugar palm tree, he will have to wait 12 to 16 years before it produces sap (juice). Then he will be able to harvest the sap for another 55 years.

2.      The thot not and sugar palm are the same trees.

3.      Palm sugar harvesting is just enough for a family to survive three months while selling trees gives them money from year to year.

4.      An Giang province is in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

5.      There are mountains in the districts of Tri Ton and Tinh Bien.

ANSWERS:

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












































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


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