HCM CITY (VNS)— Farmers who grow high-quality fruits in Can Tho City's Phong Dien District are seeing their incomes rise by adding tourism activities at their orchards.
Under a new model developed by the district, farmers are growing more high-quality fruits to attract more sales, including purchases from tourists.
With a cultivation area of 6,015 ha, Phong Dien is one of the largest fruit-growing areas in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city.
Farmer Tran Van Lien, who owns a 2.5-ha orchard with 30 kinds of fruit in Phong Dien Town's Nhon Loc 1 Hamlet, said visitors enjoyed the rural experience of visiting the orchard, walking on dirt paths and crossing streams over narrow bamboo footbridges.
At the end of the tour, they gather at long tables outdoors to eat meals made with local fruits and other ingredients.
Lien said local authorities had given him tourism training and taken him to neighbouring provinces to learn about similar activities.
"Many tourists have visited my orchard in the last year since we began the service," Lien said. "They like the fact that I use no chemicals."
Nguyen Van Nhung, who has a 2.5-ha orchard of special durian in Tan Thoi Commune's Truong Trung B Hamlet, said he had also seen a rise in sales because of the tourism activities.
The district has more than 6,000ha of fruits and most of them are speciality fruits like durian, mangosteen, rambutan, longan, 5 Roi grapefruit, sweet orange and Burmese grapes.
Many fruit orchards in the district have seen profits of VND150-200 million (US$7,100 -$9,500) per ha a year, according to the district's Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
Besides encouraging farmers to plant high-quality fruits, the bureau has also educated farmers in cultivation techniques to grow off-season fruits.
Tran Thai Nghiem, the bureau's head, expects more farmers to take part in the model programme.
However, to avoid oversupply at markets in the peak harvest season, the district said it needed more support from the city and agencies to solve problems in post-harvest preservation and fruit processing, he said. — VNS