|Nguyễn Văn Của nurses bamboo rats in Long Son Commune in Ba Ria-Vũng Tàu Province’s Vũng Tàu City. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Nhị|
BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU — Breeding bamboo rats has helped poor farmers escape poverty in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, where bamboo is abundant.
Nguyễn Văn Của has proven to be a saviour for farmers here.
He has earned a reputation across the province after his income reached VNĐ30 million (US$1,290) per month.
“I have customers from all over the country – from Cần Thơ, An Giang, Bến Tre and Cà Mau,” said the 30-year-old man from Vũng Tàu City’s Long Sơn Commune.
Của’s bamboo rat breeding career began five years ago when his brother gave him four bamboo rats to raise.
Bamboo rat is considered a delicacy, and is high in protein.
Right now, the supply can’t meet the demand.
As more Vietnamese people join the middle class, they have more money to spend on eating out, but if people continued to hunt bamboo rats, it would push them to extinction.
So he saw huge potential for the rat business as farming hundreds of the rodents wouldn’t be a problem.
According to Của, it is easy to raise bamboo rats because a mature adult just needs a piece of sugarcane and bamboo a day.
His hometown in Vũng Tàu City’s Long Sơn Commune is covered with bamboo – the rodent’s staple.
“This kind of rat is healthy and has higher value than breeding chickens, ducks or pigs,” he said.
The secret is how to set up the cages, he said. The quality of young bamboo rats and breeding techniques also play an important role.
Instead of building cages, Của has assembled bricks in squares to nurture them. This method helps save space and ensures freshness.
He also divides mature rats into pairs.
Although the rodents have a good immune system, Của still regularly cleans the breeding facility.
A temperature of 20-30 degrees Celsius is the most suitable for the growth and development of the rodents. If the weather is too cold or too hot, it can affect the breeding.
In addition, bamboo rats should not be directly exposed to sunlight or wind.
Của also feeds the bamboo rats with sweet potato, cassava and some bean plants to supplement their diets.
These rats produce four 2-5 litters each year. The newborns can grow to 500-700g in just three months.
A mature bamboo rat is 25-35cm in length and weighs from 500g-1.5kg.
The price of a pair of young bamboo rats is between VNĐ1.2-2.5 million, Của said, adding that he was breeding two types including Dúi nâu (Cannomys badius) and Dúi mốc (Rhizomys sinensis).
From four bamboo rats at the beginning, now he owns about 700.
He earns between VNĐ25-30 million a month on average from selling young rats to breeders and mature ones to restaurants.
To ensure a stable market for his rats, Của has signed contracts with restaurants and hotels in the province.
The businessman said he intended to share his knowledge with local farmers so that his breeding method could be expanded and their lives could improve. — VNS