Farmers tend red onions in Sóc Trăng Province’s Vĩnh Châu Town. – VNA/VNS Photo Chanh Đa
SÓC TRĂNG Farmers in Sóc Trăng Province’s Vĩnh Châu Town, the largest red onion producer in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, expect to have a good harvest of the crop during Tết since the weather is favourable.
The town has around 800ha under red onion to be harvested just before the Lunar New Year, which falls on January 25 next year, according to its Economic Bureau.
Most of the growing areas are in Vĩnh Hải and Vĩnh Phước communes and Ward 2.
The red onion crop harvested before Tết, which is also known as the early red onion crop, often fetches farmers higher prices than the main crop since the cultivation area now is not large and demand for the festival is high, according to farmers.
The early crop has an average yield of 1.5 tonnes per 1,000sq.m if the weather is favourable and a few hundred kilogrammes if not.
The prices before Tết are normally two or three times higher than during other times.
The early crop is planted during the transition between the rainy and dry seasons, and so if they are inundated by rainwater, their roots rot and become fungus-infected.
The province's Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department has taught farmers techniques to grow red onion during the rainy season around shrimp ponds and in net houses.
It also encourages them to grow to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards.
The cultivation around shrimp ponds ensures rainwater drains quickly into the ponds, thus not affecting the growth of the plants.
Nguyễn Thành Phước, head of the sub-department, said red onion grow well around ponds and in net houses.
The province helps farmers grow in 30ha of net houses in all, he said, adding they could do it year round.
Thạch Bun Thol, who grows red onion in Vĩnh Châu’s Vĩnh Hải Commune for harvesting sets, or small dry bulbs, for cultivation, said: “The benefits of growing in a net house are low input costs and fewer diseases.”
Farmers in the town grow three red onion crops a year, including one for harvesting red onion sets for cultivation in addition to the early and main crops. Sets are small bulblets which are harvested before they mature. The onions can be grown from seeds, transplants or sets.
Vĩnh Châu farmers grow three crops a year on around 6,500ha, with the early and main ones accounting for 5,000ha, according to the bureau.
The main crop, planted in the dry season, has an average yield of 1.5-2 tonnes per 1,000sq.m. However, farmers who grow the main crop often face a fall in prices because of excessive supply.
The town’s red onions are delicious and both sold domestically and exported. VNS