Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Fruit farmers in Bình Phước Province’s Bù Đốp District have struck it rich, especially those growing citrus like grapefruits and sweet mandarin, whose prices are high now.
Nguyễn Thanh Hùng, who has 100 green skin and pink flesh grapefruit trees in a 4,000sq.m orchard in Thanh Bình Town, said each tree yields an average of 70 fruits a year.
Since they fetch VNĐ40,000 per kilogramme, he hopes to earn around VNĐ300 million (US$13,200) this year, higher than other crops.
In 2014 he began to plant his grapefruit trees, and faced initial difficulties since he was not well-versed in growing them, he said.
“It is easy to grow grapefruit now since I have learnt farming techniques from farmers in other places and from agricultural experts.”
The declining prices and outputs of the province’s key crops like pepper, cashew and rubber in recent years have made many farmers in Bù Đốp, which is on the Cambodian border, switch to citrus fruits.
The south-eastern province is the country’s largest cashew producer and one of the largest pepper producers.
The Bù Đốp District Agriculture and Forestry Centre has taught local farmers how to grow citrus fruits.
Đỗ Hữu Đức, an official at the centre, said farmers who have switched to the fruits now have steady incomes.
Lê Đình Sang in the district’s Tân Thành Commune said he earned VNĐ2 billion ($88,000) last year from his 1.8ha of king orange and sweet mandarin orchards, two or three times what he might have earned from rice or pepper.
He used to grow rice and vegetables on his 3.8ha farm until, in 2014, he turned 1.8ha into orchards.
This year he is growing king orange and sweet mandarin on another 4ha.
Farmers in Bù Đốp have joined hands to grow citrus fruits in large quantities and ensure they are of high quality.
Last year 18 farmers in the district’s Tân Tiến Commune set up a co-operative to grow green skin and pink flesh grapefruit on an area of 70ha to Vietnamese and global good agricultural practices (VietGAP and Global GAP) standards.
The co-operative is eyeing exports soon.
Nguyễn Văn Bắc, a member, said: “The demand for green skin and pink flesh grapefruit is huge in both the domestic and foreign markets.”
There is not enough fruit grown to VietGAP standards to meet export demand, he said.
Last year farmers in Bù Đốp switched from other crops to growing fruits on more than 100ha, according to the district Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
Local authorities have encouraged farmers to turn low-yield rice fields and pepper farms into orchards. — VNS