|Farmers harvest winged yam in Long An Province’s Thuận Hoá District. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Bình|
LONG AN — Farmers in Long An Province’s Thuận Hoá District are getting a bumper harvest of winged yam and high selling prices.
Trương Văn Siếm, who grows it on 4ha in Thạnh Hoá Town, harvested 15 tonnes of the root per hectare and sold them for VNĐ15,000 (65 US cents) a kilogramme, earning VNĐ100 million ($4,360).
The price has doubled since last year, according to the district Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The weather has been favourable for growing winged yam this year, he said to explain the high yields.
The district, the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province’s largest producer of the crop, has more than 2,700ha under it, mostly in Thuỷ Đông, Thạnh An, Thuỷ Tây, and Tân Tây communes and Thạnh Hoá Town.
Its Bến Kè winged yam is well known for its delicious taste. The root is used for making soups, cakes and other dishes.
With their average yield of 15 tonnes, farmers earn VNĐ100-120 million ($4,360-5,230) per hectare, the bureau said.
The crop has helped the district’s farmers escape poverty in recent years and enjoy a stable life.
Nguyễn Kinh Kha, head of the bureau, said winged yam had become one of the district’s key farm items.
To further develop winged yam cultivation, the bureau planned to strengthen agriculture extension activities to teach farmers new techniques and expand efficient intensive-farming models, he said.
Thuỷ Đông Commune, which has 1,200ha under winged yam, the highest in the district, established a club for farmers in 2014 to exchange experiences and join hands to grow the crop.
Nguyễn Văn Đinh, a local farmer, said, “In the club, I was taught farming techniques and promised guaranteed outlets, which will prevent a situation of prices being pushed down by traders.”
The club has tied up with the Bến Kè Agriculture Service Co-operative to acquire techniques to grow winged yam based on Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and guarantee outlets for its members.
Phan Thành Dũng, director of the latter, said: “The co-operative buys winged yam to sell to supermarkets, suppliers and companies in and outside the province, especially in HCM City.”
"The high prices for the crop are also because travel restrictions to contain COVID-19 mean people prefer to buy agricultural produce that can be stored for a long period," he said.
The co-operative supplies more than 2,000 tonnes annually for domestic consumption and exports.
It is expanding its linkages with farmers, especially for growing white-flesh winged yam to meet the market demand.
The district’s alum-affected soil is ideal for growing the crop.
In the past farmers could only grow one crop a year between the 11th and seventh lunar months, but farmers have been able to grow two in recent years after the district built dykes to protect agricultural lands from flooding during the rainy season when the Mekong River overflows.
The province People’s Committee has decided to register for geographical indication certification for the district’s Bến Kè winged yam, and the Department of Science and Technology is completing the procedures. — VNS