|Growing asparagus has helped farmers in Ha Noi's Phuc Tho District make more money. — Photo www.mangtayxanhhanoi.com
HA NOI (VNS) — Farmers in Ha Noi's suburban Phuc Tho District are making more money after turning to a new crop, asparagus.
Bui Thi Lang, head of the district's Hiep Thuan Commune's farmers' association, said that they started to grow asparagus earlier this year after local authorities sought crops with higher economic value than rice.
Lang said at that time, few local farmers were interested in growing asparagus because it was new to them and required big initial investment – about VND30 million (US$1,330 ) per sao (360 sq.m)
Despite this the asparagus soon flourished and helped the farmers increase their income, Lang said.
There are 4.7 ha of asparagus in the commune, providing about 100 kilos of asparagus daily. A kilo of asparagus can be sold for VND50,000 – VND70,000 ($2.2-3.1).
Lang said that a company and wholesaler came to the commune and ordered asparagus to sell in markets.
"Now, we don't have enough asparagus to sell," she said.
Head of Bao Khanh asparagus co-operatives, Nguyen Bao Khanh said that asparagus was much more profitable than conventional crops like rice and corn.
He said that the co-operatives earned over VND2 million ($89) per day from 2ha of asparagus which was ready for harvest.
Local farmer Nguyen Thi Tuyet said that it was difficult to grow asparagus.
Harvesting can begin six months after seeding with an average productivity of 20kg per hectare per day. Adult asparagus plants can produce up to 80kg per hectare per day.
The plants are productive for nine continuous months and rest for three months.
Chairman of Phuc Tho District People's Committee, Hoang Manh Phu, said asparagus was grown over six hectares under a pilot programme in three communes of Hiep Thuan, Cam Dinh and Tho Loc.
Growing asparagus was a good way for local farmers to increase income, he said, adding that the crop would bring more profit if farmers learned cultivation techniques, connected with the market and built their brand. — VNS