Viet Nam News
NINH THUẬN – Sea grape cultivation model has brought economic sizeale benefits to the central province of Ninh Thuận.
Thanks to sea grapes’ easy cultivation and maintenance on otherwise abandoned shrimp ponds, low initial investment and especially high value exports, many households have overcome poverty.
Six households in Ninh Hải District are piloting cultivation of sea grapes on a total area of 15ha, with encouraging initial results.
The most successful model among these households is of Trần Hùng, a resident of Khánh Hải Town. With just 4ha of area to cultivate sea grapes, on average, he collects some 60kg, which he can sell at markets for VNĐ50,000 (US$2.2) per kg. Annually, he can make a profit upwards of VNĐ1 billion ($44,770).
According to Nguyễn Văn Thạch, from the economic and planning department of Khánh Hải Town, sea grapes can be planted right on the seabed, the pond’s bottom or in "net bags" floating in the ocean, which is economically efficient, especially in areas that do not witness frequent storms or strong winds. Some households even cultivate this seaweed in cement pools filled with seawater.
Depending on the pond’s area, lining materials, water source, lighting directions, etc., initial investment for an average pond (3000 square metres) stands at some VNĐ50-70 million ($2,200-3130).
Ninh Thuận Province possesses ideal conditions to grow sea grapes, Phạm Ngọc Thượng, chairman of Khánh Hải Town People’s Committee, asserted. With its economic benefits and easy care, sea grapes can be a good direction to expand, he said.
In addition, sea grapes can improve aquaculture environment quality since they develop quickly, have strong anabolism and high nutrition uptake. They can be grown simultaneously while cultivating shrimps and fish – this intercropping allows two to three times higher income compared with shrimp or fish cultivation alone.
Sea grapes are a highly nutritious plant that can be used as a substitute for green vegetables. Sea grapes contain high quantities of protein and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, as well as iodine, iron and vitamin A, which help prevent malnutrition and anemia.
Sea grapes are especially in high demand in markets such as Japan, South Korea, China and Malaysia, making it a promising export.
With these advantages, Khánh Hải Town authorities are planning to provide farmers with guidance, consulting and training sessions on cultivation techniques and food safety regulations.
Another priority is to find purchase partners to ensure farmers’ output and to develop sea grapes sustainable for people’s livelihoods. – VNS