Young boxer packs a solid farming punch

Update: October, 16/2017 - 09:49
Đạt invested in a farm in Đồng Sơn Commune, Bắc Giang Province. ’s Yên Thế District. He also gave local farmers top quality seeds and purchased all their fruits.– Photo

By Thành Vân

HÀ NỘI – Watching 31-year-old Ngô Sỹ Đạt work hard on his farm in Bắc Giang Province, it is hard to imagine that he was a member of the national boxing team not too long ago.

Fond of sports since he was a child, Đạt registered for a martial arts class while he was studying in the ninth grade. His strong physique, diligence and skills saw him admitted to the Hà Nội Boxing Club with a monthly salary of several hundred thousand Vietnamese dong, a large amount when compared with what his friends were earning. Đạt’s hard work saw him selected to compete in a national boxing championship held in Hải Phòng City, where he won the bronze medal.

Later, Đạt was chosen to be a part of the national boxing team to practice and participate in both national and international competitions. His achievements were modest, so he took a sudden, unexpected decision to retire from sports, and became a salesperson at a relative’s clothes shop.

At this time, he happened to see a programme on television that said planting the gấc (spiny bitter gourd) fruit was helping many farmers make good money. He thought of doing this on a 2ha plot of unused land that his family had in Vĩnh Phúc Province.

At first, his relatives opposed his decision, saying it would be very difficult for a young man brought up in the city with no experience in farming. But he was determined.

Đạt quit his job and returned to Vĩnh Phúc Province to start a farm. He used all the money he had saved when he was part of the national boxing team, and borrowed from friends and relatives to buy seedlings and prepare poles for the gấc vine to grow.

Although the gấc vines didn’t bear much fruit in the first year, he was able to earn dozens of millions of dong from selling chayote, also known as vegetable pear, that he had planted in the same farm.

In the second year, he received an order to dry gac fruits for a scientific research project. Đạt learnt how to make a drying oven and started purchasing the fruits. This time, his profits soared to nearly VNĐ100 million. The following year, it rose further to VND300 million.

Encouraged to pursue this vocation further, Đạt invested in a farm in Đồng Sơn Commune, Bắc Giang Province. ’s Yên Thế District. He also gave local farmers top quality seeds and purchased all their fruits.

Nine years of planting gấc vines have made Đạt a seasoned businessman.

Looking to expand and improve his business, he traveled to a number of countries including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia to study their farming methods. He also learnt English so that he could speak with people from other countries and glean valuable information

Dat has recently decided to expand his farming business to Laos.

 “I think Laos is an ideal place for growing agricultural products with high economic value, because it does not have many industrial zones and the environment is largely unaffected by pollution,” Đạt said.

At the new farm, located about 20km from the centre of Xieng Khuang Province, he began cultivating new kinds of vegetables and fruits with seeds collected during the previous travels.

He found the quality of soil in the locality was good for growing various vegetable and fruits.

However, he said, tonnes of unexploded ordnance are still scattered in the area, forcing him to hire sappers to detect and destroy them.

“The most important thing that mafes me invest in the region is the enthusiasm of local authorities and residents. Whenever I have difficulties, they came to see me and assist in solving the problems,” he said.

“Once, an agricultural expert was sent to help me with technical issues, he added.

“Local authorities and residents clearly want me to succeed. More importantly, it will help change awareness of and attitudes to farming,” he said.

Đạt said that in the future he would grow new plants and cultivate out-of-season products for consumption in Laos and Việt Nam.

“This locality has given me many advantages. The weather, which is like that of Việt Nam’s Đà Lạt, is favourable to plant vegetables and fruits. Low labour costs are also an advantage,” he said.

With the help of Russian experts, he has experimented planting radish, and expects to harvest around 200 tonnes of the vegetable for this year’s Tết (Lunar New Year festival).

His passion for farming and strong determination is set to deliver more success in the time to come. — VNS