|Bùi Xuân Quế's baby melon business has opened up new directions for local people. — Photo baobacninh.com.vn
BẮC NINH — With the desire to bring safe and nutritious food to consumers, Bùi Xuân Quế of Gia Bình District in northern Bắc Ninh Province has applied high-tech methods to his agriculture business.
After six years of tinkering, his baby melon growing model has brought positive values and created a new direction for local farmers.
Quế, 36, after graduating from Hanoi University of Business and Technology, was determined to return to work in his homeland. Due to his passion for high-tech agricultural production, he gave up a stable job at a Japanese enterprise with an income of nearly VNĐ20 million per month to find his own direction.
Realising that people's demand for clean food was increasing, he decided to start a business by growing safe vegetables.
However, his road to success was arduous. In the early days, he faced many difficulties due to a lack of farming experience, no understanding of seasons, no market, and a lack of capital.
Initially starting a business in 2017, he had VNĐ10 million and quit his job to buy trees, and seeds, and farm the land. He had to borrow more capital to purchase fertiliser. Difficulties piled up, but to prove his path was right, he wasn't discouraged and pursued his dream.
Initially, when he started farming, he chose to grow crops such as kohlrabi, cabbage, and melon. However, these are low-yielding crops that depend a lot on the weather.
Because he grows according to the criteria of growing vegetables without using pesticides, the tree grows and develops slowly, often suffering from pests and diseases.
In one case, he lost everything because rain flooded the vegetable field. His entrepreneurial path came to a standstill.
Amid the most challenging times, with the will, determination and encouragement from his family and relatives, he continued to tinker with and learn from books and newspapers, deciding to switch to growing baby melons in a greenhouse.
Quế said that melons have high economic value, the cultivation time from planting to harvesting is 30 days, and the market is wide.
He studied tree planting techniques deeply. However, this is a very fastidious plant which does not like to grow continuously on same soil and is unsuitable for direct rain and wind, so Quế borrowed start-up capital from several young people (VNĐ350 million) to build a greenhouse system.
With the method of self-study, experimentation and experience, he succeeded right from the first melon crop. The melons were of good quality. From being sold in traditional markets, his fruits were sold at clean food stores, gradually gaining a foothold in the market.
Quế said that for young people, start-up capital is like a "midwife" to help realise ideas. Quick procedures, low-interest rates, quick disbursement, and start-up capital have motivated him to do business boldly.
Seeing the initial economic efficiency of the model, in 2020, he and five other members rented more than 5,200sq.m of land, establishing Xuân Mai General Agriculture Cooperative to expand production.
With the establishment of the cooperative, the members together contribute capital, which helped improve production and product quality. Xuân Mai General Agricultural Cooperative quickly became a bright spot for agricultural development in Gia Bình District and Bắc Ninh Province.
Quế invested in building an insulated membrane house with a cooling, fertilising, and automatic watering system for melons to grow and develop well. The construction of an insulated greenhouse helps him adjust the vegetable garden's temperature, not depending so much on the weather, and avoiding insects and pests.
To facilitate the care and support of the crop and ensure that the products are harvested evenly and stably, the greenhouse area of more than 5,200sq.m is divided into four planting areas alternately growing melons about 20 days apart.
During the production process, all agricultural products of the cooperative are produced according to VietGap standards. The processes of growing and caring for melons are strictly managed, using fertilisers from biological products.
To find stable output and abundant products, Quế carried out technology transfers to those in need; at the same time, they put their products into the chain of clean food stores and supermarkets in the province. Up to now, his family harvests more than 10 tonnes of melons each month. Each year, his model of growing melons brings in over VNĐ1.5 billion in revenue, more than 20 per cent of which is profit, creating regular jobs for eight workers with an income of VNĐ5 million per month each.
Unsatisfied with the initial success and eager to learn, Quế often visits and learns about new agricultural production models. In early 2022, he built a greenhouse growing strawberries. He hopes this will be a new direction for his model when the market for other produce becomes competitive due to many growers.
Farmer Nguyễn Thị Lan from Phú Dư Village, Quỳnh Phú Commune, Gia Bình District, said, through the Xuân Mai General Agriculture Cooperative, she has built more than 1,000sq.m of insulated greenhouses to grow cucumbers.
During the planting process, she was consulted and supported by Quế on varieties, care and product consumption processes. Compared with traditional agriculture, high-tech agriculture helps farmers apply science and technology to practical agriculture, bringing high economic value.
Visiting the melon-growing model of Quế, Secretary of the Bắc Ninh Provincial Youth Union Nguyễn Đức Sâm said the young entrepreneur was a shining example, demonstrating the strength of youth in realising dreams and ambitions to get rich.
Quế's model for growing melons not only helps develop his family's economy but also opens up new directions for local agriculture.
Xuân Mai General Agricultural Cooperative and Quế have boldly accumulated land, invested funds, applied high technology and supplied safe agricultural products to the market.
Quế was honoured to be one of the young people to receive the 2021 Lương Đình Của Award of the Central Youth Union to honour rural youth with exceptionally outstanding achievements. — VNS