Viet Nam News
NINH THUẬN – The central province of Ninh Thuận is developing eco-tourism activities by opening up farmers’ fruit orchards to visitors, according to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
About 800 hectares of many kinds of fruit, including mangosteen, durian, and rambutan, are grown in Lâm Sơn Commune in the province’s Ninh Sơn District. .
Visitors can pick the fruit for a low price of VNĐ10,000 (US$0.45) per kilo for rambutan, VNĐ35,000 (US$1.5) per kilo for mangosteen and VNĐ40,000 (US$1.8) per kg for durian.
About eight years ago, the orchard owners began inviting friends during the harvest season to introduce them to fruits grown in the provinces of the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta.
Since the fruits cultivated in Ninh Thuận Province have a much higher quality than others planted in the Mekong Delta, and a higher productivity rate, farmers now earn about three times more than they made from rice or corn.
Phan Hữu Thành, a farmer from Lâm Sơn Commune in Ninh Sơn District, said he started a fruit orchard in 1990 and now has about 2.3ha with 370 plants of various kinds of fruit, including durian, mangosteen, green grapefruit and rambutan.
He earns about VNĐ150 million ($7,000) per year.
Most orchard owners collect an average of VNĐ40,000 ($1.8) per visitor, he said, adding that most visitors book a day or week before the harvest season. There is no need to buy a ticket, but visitors must pay for the fruit they pick.
To protect the orchard from damage, Thành receives no more than 50 visitors a day.
Nguyễn Thị Hòa, from Đà Lạt, said her family visits Thành’s fruit orchard every harvest season to pick fruit and enjoy chicken dishes made with fruit.
Lâm Sơn Commune has about 210 households cultivating fruit on a total of 236ha that once was used to grow rice or corn.
Trương Thành Quyền, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, said the fruit orchards had improved the lives of local farmers, who have been encouraged to expand their orchards.
Besides fruit orchards, the province is developing the cultivation of vineyard grapes for winemaking.
About 400 households cultivate grapes on a total area of 180ha in Ninh Hải District, according to Lưu Xuân Hải, the deputy chairman of Ninh Hải District’s Vĩnh Hải Commune.
Châu Thanh Hải, director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, said the department was working with other districts and cities in the province to expand the fruit orchard model. –VNS