|A longan orchard in Hòa Hiệp Commune in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province’s Xuyên Mộc District. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Nhị|
BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU — The cultivation of speciality longan varieties is providing farmers in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province with steady livelihoods.
The southern province has 13,723ha under various fruits, with longan topping the list with 1,745ha, according to its Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department.
It includes 1,522ha of mature longan trees which yield 21,000 tonnes of fruits annually.
The speciality varieties such as xuồng cơm vàng, bao công, bắp cải, and tiêu are well-known for their thick flesh and sweetness, and fetch high prices.
The bắp cải variety retails at VNĐ150,000 (US$6.3) a kilogramme.
The province’s longans, grown in the coastal districts of Xuyên Mộc and Đất Đỏ, are sold in supermarkets across the country and exported to China and Japan.
Xuyên Mộc alone accounts for 1,542ha.
Trần Văn Xuyên, a farmer in its Hòa Hiệp Commune, has grown longan for 30 years and now has a 4ha orchard after starting with 1ha.
He used to grow other crops such as corn and cassava, but since they were not lucrative he switched to the fruit since the soil in the coastal area is suitable for growing it, he said.
His orchard consistently yields nine tonnes to a hectare every year, fetching him VNĐ900 million ($38,000), he said.
The Nhân Tâm Agriculture and Service Co-operative in Hòa Hiệp farms 20ha of the fruit and became the province’s first co-operative to get a production code for export to China and Japan.
It is in the process of developing a longan growing area that will be granted a production code to enable exports to the EU and Australia.
Trần Văn Dũng, deputy chairman of the Xuyên Mộc People’s Committee, said farmers have been taught about Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) and organic standards and obtaining production codes to enable exports.
The province has set up a 1,000ha hi-tech longan farm that is equipped with automatic irrigation and fertilising systems, uses biotechnology and integrated pest management and has facilities for preserving and processing the fruit.
In Đất Đỏ, the other main longan growing district, it has become a key fruit.
It has developed tourism around its longan orchards.
The Lộc An Longan Co-operative has 12 farmers with a total of 23.7ha, and 10 host visitors in their orchards.
Farmers in the province have begun their harvest and are getting high yields because of favourable weather.
In Đất Đỏ, they are harvesting 6-7 tonnes of xuồng longan per hectare this year but getting VNĐ10,000-30,000 (42 US cent – $1.3) a kilogramme lower than last year.
But they are getting bumper harvests and steady demand, according to local farmers.
Nguyễn Văn Tư grows the fruit on 5,000sq.m to VietGAP standards in Đất Đỏ’s Long Mỹ Commune and hopes to harvest around four tonnes.
“My family hopes to earn VNĐ70-80 million ($3,000-3,400),” he said.
Trương Thị Bảy in Đất Đỏ’s Lộ An Commune said she grows the xuồng, bắp cải and bao công varieties to organic standards and regularly harvests 10 tonnes.
The district chose her orchard for development into a community-based tourism site in 2022, and she gets additional income from tourism, she said. VNS