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Lam Dong farmers reap the rewards from organic crops

Update: June, 13/2015 - 09:42
A Da Lat farmer checks his vegetables in a greenhouse before sending them to market. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
LAM DONG (VNS)  — Farmers in the Central Highlands Province of Lam Dong have reaped large profit since they turned their coffee acreage into baby cauliflower farms.

Baby cauliflower is a new, imported hybrid vegetable. According to agricultural experts, baby cauliflower is soft and has a sweet taste.

Farmer Pham Van To has been among the first baby cauliflower growers in Ninh Loan Commune, Duc Trong District. His family once owned 2,000sq.m of coffee plantation. Due to unstable coffee prices on local markets, in late 2014, his family decided to turn the total coffee growing acreage into a baby cauliflower growing greenhouse.

He has signed a consumption contract with Tien Huy Organic Vegetable Cooperative. It provides seedlings and technology transferring for the farmer family. It also purchases all their vegetables at a stable price.

The whole process of growing vegetables is closely supervised by the cooperative's agricultural experts. It includes selecting seeds, planting, caring, and harvesting, as well as aiming at supplying high-quality vegetables to markets.

To said vegetables were grown in greenhouses, using organic fertilisers and biological insecticides. "I saw huge challenges in the strict growing process. Earlier, I had followed poor techniques in planting vegetables," he said.

Nearly two tonnes

To's family harvests some 1.7 tonnes of vegetables every month. At VND30,000 per kg, he signed a contract with Tien Huy Cooperative and earns VND50 million (roughly USS$2,300) a month.

In a greenhouse of 6,000sq.m, Cao Chu Van, a farmer in Da Lat City grows several diversified vegetable varieties, including a large acreage of baby cauliflower.

His family's high-tech farming method yields good results.

Four years ago, Vo Tien Huy, a farmer in Hiep An Commune, Duc Trong District, came to Van's greenhouse to learn high-tech farming techniques. The two farmers decided to cooperate and developed a growing-and-consumption model for several kinds of organic vegetables in a 1,000sq.m greenhouse.

Both earned VND70 million-VND80 million (US$3,400 - 3,900) last year.

Sharing his experience of growing baby cauliflower in a greenhouse, Van noted that technology was enforced in a very strict manner, including three steps: watering, preventing insect infections, and harvesting.

Huy said his family's income has increased four-fold since they started high-tech organic vegetable farming.

He also saw great potential in baby cauliflower's consumption market. — VNS

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