Young entrepreneur transforms hilly land into thriving strawberry farm

April 01, 2023 - 09:19
Driven by youthful enthusiasm, Phạm Đức Anh from Yên Châu District in the northern mountainous province of Sơn La has successfully transformed a hilly terrain into a thriving strawberry garden.
Phạm Đức Anh shares the strawberry planting techniques with young people. — VNA/VNS Photo

SƠN LA — Driven by youthful enthusiasm, Phạm Đức Anh from Yên Châu District in the northern mountainous province of Sơn La has successfully transformed a hilly terrain into a thriving strawberry garden.

His initial accomplishments in cultivating marketable fruit trees have inspired and motivated young individuals to overcome challenges and prosper in their homeland.

To create a high-yielding strawberry garden with large, attractive fruits, Đức Anh has dedicated substantial effort and enthusiasm.

Previously, the entire strawberry garden was a hilly, sloping land used for growing plums and corn in Phiềng Khoai Commune, a border commune with Laos known for its dry, hot weather and occasional rime.

In 2013, Đức Anh bravely initiated a plum farming model, facing numerous difficulties due to his lack of formal training.

Through determination and hard work, his plum farm has now expanded to nearly one hectare.

Unsatisfied with the income generated solely from the plum garden, Đức Anh decided to venture into strawberry cultivation in 2020, following the VietGap standard after visiting a successful strawberry farm in Cò Nòi Commune of Mai Sơn District.

He now grows strawberries alongside plums in his garden.

At the outset of strawberry cultivation, Đức Anh faced numerous difficulties such as obtaining capital, securing seedlings, and mastering strawberry care techniques.

Consequently, he spent nights searching the Internet for information on growing and caring for strawberries, as well as visiting successful farms in the province for guidance.

Đức Anh explained: "To ensure healthy strawberry growth, ward off pests and diseases, and achieve high yields with attractive fruits, I had to apply lime to neutralise the alum in the soil and stabilise its pH level."

"Then, I created raised beds to prevent waterlogging and enriched the soil with fertiliser every 2-3 months before planting high-quality seedlings," he added.

"Furthermore, I always cover the beds with plastic sheets to retain moisture, separate the fruits from the soil for cleanliness, and reduce pest and disease exposure," he said.

"I strictly avoid using harmful chemicals throughout the entire planting and harvesting process," he emphasised.

Over the past two years, Đức Anh has maintained one hectare of plum trees and 4,000 square metres of strawberries.

Đức Anh has installed a modern drip irrigation system and implemented standard planting and care techniques, enabling him to harvest an annual output of 15-20 tonnes of fruit per crop, generating revenues of VNĐ600-700 million (US$26,000-30,000), with a profit of VNĐ400-500 million ($17,000-21,000).

Traders trust Đức Anh's strawberries, so they typically sign purchasing contracts right at the beginning of the crop season.

"Although this is just an initial success, it fuels my desire to turn my dream of prosperity into reality," said Đức Anh.

Phạm Đức Anh harvesting strawberries. — VNA/VNS Photo

Đức Anh is the first young individual in the commune to adopt the strawberry cultivation model, which yields higher economic returns compared to many other crops.

Currently, his family has a significant amount of unused land, so he plans to expand his strawberry cultivation to around 1.5-2 hectares this year.

Given the prevailing market prices and output, he is projected to earn over VNĐ1.5 billion ($64,000) annually and create employment opportunities for 15-20 local workers.

At present, he produces strawberry seedlings for markets in provinces such as Điện Biên, Lai Châu, Lào Cai, Hưng Yên, and Hải Dương, as well as Hà Nội.

Importantly, Đức Anh actively supports and provides technical guidance on planting, caring for, and harvesting strawberries to individuals and youth union members in the commune.

With stable output and selling prices, many farmers now enjoy higher incomes and continue to invest in expanding their planting areas.

"Dare to think, dare to do" has enabled Đức Anh to achieve notable success in starting his own business, and has inspired many local residents, particularly the youth, to embark on entrepreneurial ventures and prosper in their own land. — VNS