Farmer Hữu grows rich from citrus trees, develops local tourism

June 19, 2024 - 14:35
Despite living in the famous land of lychees in Thanh Hải Commune, Lục Ngạn District, Bắc Giang Province, Nguyễn Văn Hữu has become a billionaire and created jobs for many local people by switching to growing organic citrus fruits.
Nguyễn Văn Hữu with some of his fruits in Lục Ngạn District, Bắc Giang Province.

BẮC GIANG -- Despite living in the famous land of lychees in Thanh Hải Commune, Lục Ngạn District, Bắc Giang Province, Nguyễn Văn Hữu has become a billionaire and created jobs for many local people by growing organic citrus fruits.

It is the busiest time of the year for his farm, not just in terms of business traders, but it has become an attractive destination for visitors, who want to take photos and taste the fruit where they grow.

"My family also grew lychees at first. However, after many years I found a disadvantage of short harvest time of these trees. When we had good seasons we were often forced by traders to sell products cheaply," said Hữu.

"I researched other crops. After my travels to Bến Tre and Hòa Bình provinces to learn about citrus trees, I realised that orange and grapefruit trees were suitable for the Lục Ngan hill land."

After learning techniques for growing and caring for citrus trees, in 2011, Hữu and his wife decided to order green-skinned grapefruit varieties from Bến Tre by way of a test for their farm.

Their hard-working and great effort brought sweet results, the trees flourished, encouraging Hữu to expand the farm, planting different types of grapefruit and oranges.

To date, his family's farm covers a total area of ​​nearly 10ha. On average, each year he harvests 90 tonnes of green-skinned grapefruit, 150,000 sweet grapefruits, 150,000 rosy-pulped grapefruits, ten tonnes of Cao Phong oranges (a speciality fruit of Hòa Bình Province) and ten tonnes of the also-famed Canh orange of the Hoài Đức District of Hà Nội).

In 2022, his family's revenue was about VNĐ5.3 billion (US$210,000), a profit of VNĐ3.5 billion. It increased to nearly VNĐ7 billion in 2023, from which he earned VNĐ4 billion.

Since his first days switching to citrus trees, Hữu understood that to have a sustainable agricultural business he would need to follow organic farming rules. All 10ha of oranges and grapefruits of his family are grown this way.

Nguyễn Văn Hữu was honoured by the Việt Nam Farmers' Union as an Outstanding Farmer in 2023

“To get high quality fruit, my family has been farming organically since the early years of building the farm," Hữu said.

"We uses bio products such as buffalo manure, probiotic-soaked fish and probiotic-fermented soybeans to create organic nutrients that help plants grow healthily and safely.

"At the same time, during the care process, we also uses biological measures to protect the plants safely such as sprinkling lime powder and spraying products made of lime powder to prevent pests and keep our trees disease-free."

Hữu has created on-site jobs for between 8-14 local workers, with an average income of VNĐ6 million per month each.

He also actively shared his experiences and helped other families develop citrus farms, while also supporting different local projects such as building a cultural house and a village sports centre and donating some of his land to build roads under the new rural programme of the district.

Tourist hub

In recent years, Lục Ngạn District has promoted eco-tourism and rural and garden tourism and Hữu's farm has been listed as one of the must-visit places.

Within the local authority, Hữu established and directed the Thanh Hải Agricultural Production and Trade Cooperative in 2021 which now has ten members cultivating oranges and grapefruits in a total area of ​​about 40ha. They not only farm but also design tours and tourism products to welcome visitors all year around to their lychee, orange and grapefruit orchards.

On his own farm Hữu has developed many tourism spots, with a flower- laden entrance, lotus and fish ponds, along with a family area.

In 2022, Hữu invested nearly VNĐ2 billion to build a two-story stilt house, a kitchen and relaxation area to meet the needs of tourists.

Tourists take photos at Nguyễn Văn Hữu's Hoa Quả Sơn Ecotourism Site.

In July 2023, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Bắc Giang recognised his farm as the Hoa Quả Sơn Eco-tourism Site, which was officially opened last November during the 'Lục Ngạn Autumn-Winter' tourism programme.

Hữu said tourists coming to visit, could immerse themselves in the natural scenery, enjoy the fresh air and check in with beautiful photos with the golden orange and grapefruit gardens. They could also experience many different activities such as picking and enjoying fruits, cycling, gardening and camping along with tasting many special dishes of Lục Ngạn.

Each year, the farm welcomes about a hundred tourist groups, a total of more than two thousand visitors.

"The orange and grapefruit garden at Hoa Quả Sơn Eco-tourism Site is as beautiful as in the pictures," said Nguyễn Như Ngọc Anh, a tourist from Hà Nội.

"The tree is laden with golden fruits. The farm is clean, the air is fresh and the fruits are delicious. We did not expect to have chance visiting such beautiful farm in Bắc Giang. We will definitely come back here again."

Hữu has received many certificates of merit from the provincial leaders for his outstanding achievements in implementing the patriotic emulation movement, production and business and helping people run successful businesses.

In 2023, he was honoured by the Việt Nam Farmers' Association as an Outstanding Vietnamese Farmer.

Chairman of Lục Ngạn People's Committee La Văn Nam said Hữu was a diligent and creative farmer who boldly took the lead in changing crops for economic development.

He said: "His family's farm was one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the area, generating billions of đồng in income each year and creating many jobs for local workers. In addition, Hữu was very active in activities to promote tourism development in the district, always obeyed the law and had many contributions to the locality. He deserved to be an excellent Vietnamese Farmer." VNS