HCM CITY (VNS)— Nguyen Thi Tam, who lives in Mekong Delta Tien Giang Province's Tan Phuoc District, now earns a profit four to five times higher thanks to growing pineapples than that from cajeput a few years ago.
Tam said her family's lives have been improved after she switched from growing cajeput to pineapples on her two-hectare plot in Tan Hoa Thanh Commune.
Nguyen Van Hoa, who has planted pineapples for many years in Tan Phuoc's Tan Hoa Tay Commune, said the price of pineapples has been rising to VND3,000-4,000 a kilo since last year, which has earned farmers a good profit.
Tam and Hoa are two of thousands of farmers in Tan Phuoc District whose lives have been improved through growing pineapples.
Tan Phuoc, which is located in the most flooded and alum-affected area in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, had 3,500ha of pineapple when it was established in 1994.
The district now has more than 15,000ha of pineapple, becoming one of the country's leading pineapple cultivating areas.
When the district was established, local authorities researched the most suitable plant to grow in alum-affected areas, and found that it was pineapple.
Since then local authorities have encouraged farmers to grow the fruit.
Local authorities have also built dykes to prevent floods flowing into pineapple fields during the delta's annual flooding season and have installed electric pumps at the dykes to pump flood water out of pineapple fields.
Huynh Tuoc, secretary of the Thanh Tan Commune Party Committee in Tan Phuoc, said farmers have applied advanced techniques to grow off-season pineapples and earn higher profits in recent years.
Farmers earn a profit of VND20 million (US$950) per hectare for each pineapple crop, he said.
"We will continue encouraging farmers to switch from ineffective rice fields and cajeput to pineapple." Tuoc said.
Huynh Van Buon, head of the Tan Phuoc Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said the district will strengthen training farmers in advanced farming techniques to grow high quality pineapples according to Vietnamese Good Agriculture Practices (VietGap).
The district will also encourage farmers to grow off-season pineapples, he said.
In recent years, many farmers have grown more of pineapple varieties called Son and Phung to sell in Tet (Lunar New Year) festival. These pineapple varieties are particularly beautiful in appearance and are most in-demand during Tet.
Many farmers have earned high profits from growing Son and Phung pineapples.
The district grows about 250,000 tonnes of various varieties of pineapple a year.
The district's pineapples now have stable outlets as farmers are contracted to sell pineapples to the Tien Giang-based Long Dinh Vegetable and Fruit Company, which produces pineapple juice for domestic consumption and export.
The districts' pineapples are also sold to HCM City and other provinces. — VNS