Farmers rise up in difficulty to get rich

September 24, 2022 - 08:25
The common point in two outstanding farmers in Cần Thơ is that they are successful in the transformation of agricultural production models, and bringing higher economic efficiency.

Thu Hiền

CẦN THƠ — Nguyễn Văn Bé Ba and Nguyễn Văn Bi are two of many farmers in the Mekong Delta's Cần Thơ City making tenacious efforts to overcome difficulties and get rich from their land.

The two farmers are shortlisted to be chosen among the 100 outstanding farmers in Việt Nam this year.

The common point in these two farmers is that they are successful in the transformation of agricultural production models, and bringing higher economic efficiency.

Growing durian fruits in wetland

Nguyễn Văn Bé Ba with his automatic watering system in his durian garden. — VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hiền

More than 15 years ago, people in Xuân Trường A Commune of Thới Lai District only cultivated rice and maize and very few people grew citrus trees such as oranges, tangerines and lemons.

It was because of the natural condition that the land is flooded for a long time in the rainy season so the cultivation of fruit trees was not efficient.

As a result, people's lives faced many difficulties.

However, there was a man who thought differently and tried to grow fruits in the wetlands.

Unlike other people in the commune who rented land to grow rice, in 2015, electrician Nguyễn Văn Bé Ba boldly took land and built a garden that did not flood to grow fruits such as Thailand-bred custard apples, Taiwanese-bred mangos and durians.

Along with a solid dyke, Ba also installed an automatic irrigation system that is used to pump water out of the garden in the rainy season to prevent the garden from flooding.

Thanks to the technology application, the fruit garden brings Ba yearly income of about VNĐ1 billion (US$42,000).

Determining durian as the main crop because of its high profit margin, Ba decided to plant the fruit on an area of 7ha, including about 5ha with nearly 1,000 trees of the Ri6 durian variety and 1ha with 200 trees of the Mosakin variety.

This year, Ba sold more than 30 tonnes of durians at VNĐ55,000 ($2.3) per kilo. After deducting costs and expenses, he earned a profit of VNĐ1 billion ($42,000).

Although, at present, the productivity of the durian in Ba's garden is as not high as others, it is a happy achievement and has changed people's thoughts about durian trees.

“When I started planting durian trees, everyone laughed and said that durians grown on this land could not bear fruit,” Ba said. “But I kept planting and tried to learn why the durian tree planted on this land did not bear fruit.”

As the first person to grow durian on the wetlands in Trường Xuân A Commune, Ba had to learn from friends and other farmers how to grow durian, how to make the trees flower earlier, and how to water and fertilise by an automatic system.

Most importantly, he found the main reason why durians did not bear fruit.

"This place is far from large rivers, so the water recedes slowly in the rainy season. When the garden is flooded, the trees die so they do not bear fruit,” he said.

“So, I built a dike to prevent water from entering. In the high water season, I pump water out of the garden," he said.

After a few years of seeing that Ba's durian garden had given fruit, many people in the commune also planted the fruit trees.

Đỗ Văn Ô, vice president of Trườn Xuân A Commune’s Farmers’ Association, said up to now, the commune has a total area of 30ha of durians.

Getting rich from plant water spinach

After failing to grow many kinds of crops, Nguyễn Văn Bi (nickname Tám Bi) in Ô Môn District came to water spinach as a last choice.

And after more than 20 years of growing water spinach, it has brought his family and 60 households in Thới Hoà area a better life.

Nguyễn Văn Bi (nick name Tám Bi) harvesting water spinach. The cultivation of water spinach made his family wealthy. — VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hiền

Bi recalled that in the very first days growing water spinach, he just sowed 2kg of the vegetable's seeds in his small garden.

Every day, he cut the vegetables for his wife to sell in the district’s market. Gradually, he found wholesalers so he decided to expand the growing area to more than 5,000sq.m.

At present, water spinach cultivation brings his family a profit of VNĐ1-1.3 billion ($42,000-55,000) per year.

Finding that the model of growing the vegetable brings a stable source of income, he instructed local people to set up water spinach fields.

Then, he established Hoà Phát Safe Vegetable Co-operatives and becomes the director.

At present, the Thới Hoà area is the largest area of growing the vegetable in Cần Thơ City. It supplies the market 15-18 tonnes of water spinach every day.

In the vegetable fields in Thới Hoà area, farmers installed automatic watering systems, cultivators and rail transport systems.

"Growing water spinach is a hard job. The farmers had to stay up late and get up early to cut the vegetables and deliver them to customers,” Bi said.

“But if you know how to plant, care for and work hard, it will bring a stable income,” he said.

Bi's greatest joy is not only to get rich but also help many other people have better lives from growing water spinach.

He said that the most important part of his life was to give.

As a poor person, the only way to find a lifeline was growing water spinach to revive the family economy, and now, Bi focuses on doing charity and mobilising money from people in the community to build roads and bridges in rural areas.

Trần Thị Thiên Thư, vice president of Cần Thơ City’s Farmers’ Association, said Bi is not only a good farmer but also a person with a heart for the community.

The cultivation of water spinach has helped dozens of households in Thới Hoà area become well-off.

“Over the past decades, Bi mobilised people, businesses, and local mass organisations to build many bridges and roads contributing to make the countryside of Thới An Ward more clean and beautiful," said Thư.

Farmers Nguyễn Văn Bé Ba and Nguyễn Văn Bi are two of many farmers in Cần Thơ striving to overcome difficulties to get rich from their gardens and fields. — VNS