|Workers at a tam vong bamboo plantation in Lam Dong Province's Da Te District. —Photo Courtesy of Co Xanh Company.
LAM DONG (VNS)— Co Xanh Company has begun to buy the bamboo harvested by farmers in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong's Da Teh District.
As part of a poverty alleviation programme initiated by the provincial authorities and non-profit Winrock International five years ago, Co Xanh is expected to buy some 28,000 tam vong bamboo trees this week from plantations in Huong Lam and An Nhon communes.
"Farmers can earn VND5,000 to VND26,000 per tree, depending on length," Dang Cong Hao, director of the Tay Ninh Province-based Co Xanh told Viet Nam News last week.
It had provided the farmers bamboo seedlings and money for buying fertilisers, planting, and training.
The fertility of the soil in Da Teh has helped increase the number of trees from 30 on average to 50 per grove, Hao said.
With 400 groves per hectare, a farmer can earn VND150 million ($7,000) per hectare per year, higher than any other crop, he said.
The company expects to pay around VND500 million ($23,900) for the first batch of trees, he said.
Unlike other items, bamboo prices have never declined, he said.
Tam vong is the most versatile bamboo variety and can be used in construction, furniture making, and many other applications.
Bamboo products like furniture manufactured by Co Xanh have been exported to Europe and the US, Hao said.
"Bamboo trees have replaced timber, which has been exhausted in the local market.
"That is the reason why the number of households growing tam vong bamboo in Da Teh is increasing."
It is grown on some 100ha in Da Teh, and the district authorities have encouraged Huong Lam and An Nhon residents to expand this area under the programme, which aims not only to reduce poverty but also check deforestation and recover the region's bio-diversity.
The bamboo from Da Teh remains insufficient for his company's furniture manufacturing lines, he said.
The district authorities plan to expand the areas under tam vong bamboo from the existing 100ha to 10,000ha by 2015, he said.
A ceremony to introduce the plan to local residents was held in Da Te Town on May 15, he added. — VNS