|The inner part of the bulrush plant’s lower stalk, which is used as food. Cà Mau Province plans to expand farming of the plant because of the high demand for it. – VNA/VNS Photo Kim Há|
CÀ MAU – The Mekong Delta province of Cà Mau will expand the area under bồn bồn (Typha orientalis), also known as bulrush, because of the high demand for the inner portion of its lower stalk used as food, according to the province People’s Committee.
Bulrush cultivation has helped improve the lives of many farming families in recent years since it fetches high prices.
In Cái Nước District, which has the largest bulrush growing area in the province, more than 150 households grow the wet plant on a total area of 90ha.
They harvest around three tonnes of the inner portion of the lower stalk per hectare annually.
Nguyễn Phi Hùng of the district’s Hưng Đông Commune said the plant has become the main source of income for many local families.
“Bulrush has become a speciality and the demand for it increases year after year.”
Fresh lower stalk inner portions fetch VNĐ30,000 – 45,000 (US$1.3 – 1.9) a kilogramme, he said.
It is used in various dishes such as fresh salad, hotpot and pickles.
Bulrush, a wild plant that grows in shallow water, does not require tending, fertilisers or pesticides and can be harvested more than 10 years.
Its main harvest season is between June and November.
Nguyễn Văn Nhân, who grows the plant on 6,500sq.m in Tân Hưng Đông, said he earns an average of VNĐ400,000 – 500,000 ($17 - 21) a day from the plant.
Households growing the plant earn an average income of VNĐ100 -120 million ($4,300 – 5,170) per hectare per year, according to the Cái Nước Agriculture and Rural Development Division.
Besides, they earn an additional income from breeding giant river prawns or freshwater fish in the bulrush fields.
The district is drafting a plan to expand the area under the plant to 100ha besides improving quality and yields.
The district’s two agricultural co-operatives, Cái Bát and Đông Hưng, are buying bulrush from local farmers. Their partners have been asking for four tonnes a month, but they are unable meet this demand.
The province People’s Committee has instructed the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to review the demand for and quality of the plant.
Lê Văn Sử, deputy chairman of the province People’s Committee, has ordered the department to expand the bulrush growing area to meet the demand.
He has also ordered relevant agencies to create organic farming techniques for growing bulrush singly and together with aquatic species in the same field.
The cultivation and consumption of the plant have to be done co-operatively, he said.
Relevant agencies should study the use of bulrush byproducts to increase the plant’s value for farmers, he said.
In 2016 Cái Nước bulrush was granted a collective brand name by the National Office of Intellectual Property. – VNS