Viet Nam News
BẮC NINH — Several weeks before Tết (Lunar New Year), Đinh Thị Cẩn and other farmers of Phù Lương Commune in Quế Võ District, the northern province of Bắc Ninh are harvesting potatoes to serve peak demand over the holiday season.
This year, thanks to favourable weather conditions and good-quality seeds, harvest came early after three months of cultivation.
After planting three hectares of potatoes this season, Cẩn said this year‘s crop has higher-than-normal productivity.
“Big-sized potatoes with high levels of nutrition give us hope of a bumper crop,” she said.
Potato cultivation in the commune started humbly from a small number of farmers who sowed the seeds to feed their families.
Farmer Triệu Thị Sáu said local farmers used to only plant two rice crops per year and abandoned the land in the winter season. Realising the empty fields in the winter could be used for another crop, they started cultivating potatoes with the assistance of local authorities. Many farmers have invested in cultivators and rented land to expand their production areas to five to 10 hectares each.
This season, Sáu earned a profit of more than VNĐ50 million (US$2,100) from more than four hectares.
Quế Võ’s farmers have expanded their cultivation areas and turned their district into an area specialising in potato farming.
According to Nguyễn Thị Thu Hiền, head of the district’s agriculture and rural development division, the potato cultivation area for the 2018-19 winter-spring crop is nearly 1,700 ha. Each hectare will produce 1,800-1,900 kilogrammes.
Quế Võ potatoes have brought high profits to local farmers and are known as an agricultural brand not only within the locality but also the whole nation.
The brand was recognised by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Việt Nam and received a trademark.
According to farmers, the features that make Quế Võ potatoes different from others are their yellow colour, attractive appearance and buttery starchy taste.
Farmer Đào Viết Năm told Vietnam News Agency that Quế Võ farmers are proud of their potatoes, especially since it was granted a brand name.
“We have to take responsibility for out product to provide the best quality and safest potatoes to consumers,” he said.
Farmers in the district receive annual training on standardised potato cultivation practices and post-harvest preservation, and are encouraged to apply Việt Nam Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) standards in their processing.
Last year the district’s authorities developed 30 potato cultivation zones covering more than 220ha with a separate potato-classifying and processing area. Local authorities are aiming for high-quality, disease-free potatoes with available domestic seeds and reduced imported costs. — VNS