|Covering jujube orchards with nets is helping farmers in Ninh Thuận Province improve the quality and yield of the fruit. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thành
NINH THUẬN — Many jujube farmers in Ninh Thuận Province, the country’s largest producer of the fruit, are improving yields and quality by using nets to cover their orchards and protect them from pests.
Đỗ Văn Thảo of Ninh Phước District’s Phước Dân Town, one of first farmers to use the method, said in previous years the Mediterranean fruit fly and other pests had caused severe damage to the jujube trees and reduced yields.
Since last year, when he began to use a net to cover his 1ha orchard, the damage had been significantly less, he said.
Since then the spoilage rate had been only around a few dozen kilogrammes per tonne of harvested jujube, he said.
In the past, the rate used to be 300-400 kilogrammes, he said.
The female medfly lays eggs inside fruits growing on a tree. When the eggs hatch and develop into larvae which eat the pulp, the fruit is destroyed.
The medfly is one of the most destructive jujube pests and famers normally use pesticides to kill them.
Đỗ Thành Thanh, who has a 3,000sq.m orchard in Phước Dân Town, said medflies had reproduced in large numbers recently and pesticides were unable to kill all of them.
So he had decided to use frames and a net to cover his orchard, he said.
The net protected the trees from pests and helped grow quality jujube, and in addition there was no need to use pesticides, he said.
For a 1,000sq.m orchard, it costs VNĐ12–20 million (US$514 - 856) for the net plus the cost of designing and building the frame.
It can be used for three to five years depending on the quality of the net and weather conditions.
The net also helps reduce the impacts of strong sunshine, frost, wind and rains on the jujube trees.
Covered orchards have a yield of 70-80 tonnes per hectare a year while uncovered ones only yield 35-40 tonnes, according to farmers.
Jujube is one of the province’s key agricultural products and is grown mostly in Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm City and Ninh Phước, Ninh Hải and Ninh Sơn districts.
It is easy to grow, the province’s weather and soil conditions are highly suitable for it and the tree fruits year round.
The province has more than 1,000ha under the fruit, with around 10ha covered by nets, according to its Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department.
Phạm Dũng, head of the sub-department, said using nets to protect jujube orchards had improved yield and quality.
Fruits grown under the nets also fetch higher prices, he said.
The sub-department is working with local authorities to encourage more farmers to use nets and teach them how to set up the nets and tend their fruits, he said. — VNS