|Macadamia trees in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Khải|
HCM CITY — The Central Highlands provinces have good potential for growing macadamia, but more studies are needed to grow the nut, according to the Central Highlands Steering Committee.
Macadamia trees first made an appearance in Việt Nam in the 1990s, but farmers in the Central Highland only started cultivating them in 2000.
Now they have around 2,266ha of macadamia cultivation, accounting for 64 per cent of the country’s total crop area, with Lâm Đồng, Đắk Nông and Đắk Lắk being the main cultivation areas.
Some places in the region have great potential for growing the trees, especially those with cool weather.
Last year the region produced 246 tonnes of fresh macadamia nuts, accounting for nearly 91.5 per cent of the country’s output.
But since it is a relatively new species, relevant agencies should conduct further studies before promoting its cultivation, according to the Central Highlands Steering Committee.
Saplings must be carefully chosen, and the zoning plans for the nuts must be linked to processing and consumption establishments to ensure efficiency and reduce risks for farmers, the committee said.
In some areas such as Krông Năng in Đắk Lắk and Đức Trọng, Đơn Dương and Lâm Hà in Lâm Đồng, farmers intercrop macadamia with coffee, increasing economic efficiency.
Dr Trần Vinh, deputy director of the Western Highlands Agro-Forestry Scientific and Technical Institute, said since macadamia is a new species, more time is needed to study the soil, climate, techniques and seedlings.
The institute has developed four high-yield macadamia strains that are resistant to many diseases and approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
But farmers should not rush to grow the tree if they do not want poor outcomes, he said.
His and the authorities’ warnings have gone unheeded, and many farmers grow macadamia even in areas with unsuitable soil and climate.
Worse still, many have planted saplings with unclear origin and poor quality, resulting in many trees producing few or no nuts, according to the committee.
Macadamia requires well-drained soil and subtropical weather with temperatures ranging from 16 to 25 degrees Celsius. In Việt Nam, only eight provinces have climate suitable for macadamia, five in the Central Highlands and three in the north.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to have 6,490ha under macadamia in the Central Highlands by 2020, with 5,940ha intercropped with coffee and tea, and establish six processing facilities each with a capacity of 100-200 tonnes a year. — VNS