Harvesting aloe vera in Ninh Thuận Province’s Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm City. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thành
NINH THUẬN — Aloe vera farmers in the south-central province of Ninh Thuận are earning large incomes because of the high prices they are getting because of the prolonged hot weather.
The hot weather means demand for the plant’s leaves to make beverages is very high.
There is also high demand for it for making cosmetics and herbal remedies.
Traders and companies are now buying aloe vera at VNĐ4,500-6,000 (19-25 US cent) per kilogramme, twice the price they paid last month.
Lê Thành Nguyễn has a 2,000sq.m field in Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm City’s Mỹ Bình Ward and harvests around 10 tonnes of leaves a month.
He sells them for VNĐ4,500 a kilogramme to earn VNĐ45 million (US$1,900), he said.
Trần Đức Anh, who has grown aloe vera in the city’s Văn Hải Ward for 15 years, said this is the first time he has seen prices increase so much and rapidly.
The prices now are four times what they were in past years, he said.
“All the harvested aloe vera is snapped up immediately by traders.”
The hot weather is forecast to continue for long and so demand would increase, according to traders.
The province’s aloe vera is sold not only in Ninh Thuận but also several other provinces and cities, including HCM City.
The plant is easy to grow as it is resistant to drought and disease, and farmers do not need to use pesticides.
Ninh Thuận, the driest province in the country, has hot weather and sandy soil appropriate for growing the plant.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has encouraged farmers to link up with local traders and processing companies to ensure guaranteed demand for their produce.
Phan Thị Tuyết Nhung is a trader in Văn Hải Ward who has contracts with aloe vera farmers.
She sells around five tonnes a day to wholesale markets in HCM City and Khánh Hòa and Lâm Đồng provinces.
“Other buyers are asking to buy, but I do not have enough to sell,” she said.
She supplies seedlings and fertilisers to farmers and guarantees she will buy their output, and so has a steady supply. Farmers pay her the cost of seedlings and fertilisers after harvesting.
An initial investment of around VNĐ10 million ($420) is required to grow 1,000sq.m of aloe vera. The plant can be harvested after six to eight months. Once they begin to harvest the plants, farmers can get four to six tonnes a month per 1,000sq.m of land for up to three years.
They can earn VNĐ300-600 million ($12,700-25,400) per hectare per year, according to the department.
Ninh Thuận, one of the country’s largest aloe vera producers, discovered the plant in 2002 and now has more than 330ha under it, mostly in Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm City.
The province plans to increase the area to about 500ha by the end of this year.
It has a number of support policies to help farmers develop aloe vera cultivation sustainably, including acting as a link between farmers and processing companies and establishing co-operative groups that grow the crop to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards.
It has identified aloe vera as one of 12 important agricultural products. — VNS