Farmers cash in on intercropping

April 13, 2018 - 11:00

Farmers in the Central Highlands region of Tây Nguyên report high incomes from growing perennial fruit trees, which are currently in high demand.

Harvesting durian in Đắk Lắk Province’s Krông Pắk District. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Farmers in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) region are earning high incomes from growing perennial fruit trees, which are currently in high demand.

Đỗ Quang Danh, a farmer who grows lychees and longans on a 3.5ha plot of land in Đắk Lắk Province’s Ea Kar District, now earns an annual profit of more than VNĐ400 million (US$17,600).

In the past, he planted cassava and beans and earned little profit, he said.

Đắk Lắk, one of the region’s leading provinces in intercropping fruit trees in coffee orchards, has more than 12,000ha of land dedicated to growing fruits, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  

Deputy Director of the province’s agriculture department Huỳnh Quốc Thích said the soil and weather conditions in the province are well suited to fruit cultivation. He also said that when growing coffee and pepper, it is important to have other trees to provide shade and protect them from winds.

Fruit tree cultivation in coffee and pepper orchards has thus proven effective, he said, adding that in Gia Lai Province’s Chư Pưh and Chư Sê districts, many farmers have intercropped fruit trees in their orchards.

Biện Tấn Quỳnh, who has a 3ha orchard in Chư Pưh, said: “I began to intercrop avocado, durian, passion fruit and jackfruit trees into my pepper and coffee orchard two years ago.”

Last year, a few dozen of the avocado trees began bearing fruit for the first time, and this year around 100 of the trees are expected to produce fruit in his orchard.

Chư Pưh District has about 300ha of fruits that are mostly intercropped in coffee or pepper orchards, according to the Chư Pưh District’s Agriculture and Rural Development Division. The district has no concentrated fruit planting area.

Deputy head of the district’s agriculture division Nguyễn Long Khánh said the area of intercropped fruit trees has existed for five to seven years.

“Fruit trees are not the district’s primary focus, but local authorities are encouraging farmers to intercrop with other plants to increase income,” he said. 

According to statistics from Đắk Nông Province, the amount of land used for fruit trees rose from nearly 3,500ha in 2010 to 7,000ha this year.

The most popular fruits grown in the provice are durians, mangos, oranges and mandarins. Cultivation of these fruits is providing farmers with an anual profit of up to VNĐ400-500 million per hectare.      

Đắk Nông Province is committed to developing concentrated fruit growing areas for durians, mangos, avocados, passion fruit and citrus fruits.

Lê Quang Dần, deputy director of the Đắk Nông Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that having concentrated fruit growing areas would yield a large quantity of product, and subsequently get farmers a better deal with companies who are buying from them.

Under the instruction of local authorities, farmers have turned thousands of hectares of farmland into fruit orchards. Previously, this farmland had no irrigation facilities and was considered unsuitable for coffee tree growth.  

The Tây Nguyên region, which includes the Đắk Lắk, Lâm Đồng, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces, has more than 35,000ha of perennial fruits under cultivation. Local farmers are continuing to plant more fruit orchards or intercrop fruit trees in their coffee or pepper orchards. — VNS