A macadamia farm in Gia Lai Province’s Đak Đoa District. – Photo baogialai.com.vn
GIA LAI – The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Gia Lai will expand macadamia cultivation by growing the nut in coffee plantations and forests, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It has more than 10,000ha of forest lands without forest trees, and macadamia trees could be planted there, it said.
Intercropping of macadamia trees in coffee farms would be increased as the former can provide shade and shield coffee shrubs from winds besides providing an additional income equivalent to the income from coffee, it said.
The province has nearly 100,000ha of coffee plantations where the macadamia could be intercropped, it added.
Vũ Ngọc An, deputy director of the department, said macadamia trees have been planted in the province since 2010 mostly together with coffee.
Farmers normally intercrop 100 – 150 macadamia trees per hectare of coffee field, he said.
The province has around 600ha under macadamia, including 580ha in Kbang District.
Mã Văn Tình, head of the Kbang Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers harvest of 1 – 1.5 tonnes of nuts per hectare in case of monoculture and 500kg if intercropped.
They earn VNĐ50 – 150 million (US$2,150 – 6,450) per hectare per year, he said.
Raw nuts are bought for VNĐ 80,000 – 120,000 ($3.5 – 5.1) per kilogramme.
In recent years the decline in the prices of coffee, pepper and cashew, the province’s major crops, has caused many farmers to intercrop macadamia with coffee and pepper or switch completely to the nut to improve their incomes.
Macadamia offers higher incomes than coffee while the production cost is lower, according to farmers.
Phạm Văn Vụ planted 300 macadamia trees in his 2ha coffee farm in Đak Đoa District’s Hải Yang Commune in 2013, and they began to yield nuts three years later.
“The harvest has been increasing steadily since 2017,” he said.
He harvested one tonne last year and earned more than VNĐ100 million ($4,300) from it, he said.
He hopes to harvest 1.5 tonnes of nuts this year and earn VNĐ160 million ($6,900).
Traders rate the quality of macadamia in Hải Yang higher than in other places, and so farmers there do not need to worry about being able to sell their produce, he added.
Diệp Đại Quốc, director of the Đak Đoa District Agriculture Service Centre, said his centre plans to provide farmers with macadamia seedlings for intercropping on five hectares.
Hải Yang would zone growing areas to develop macadamia into a specifically identified local product, he said.
The commune has 20ha under the nut, most of them interplanted in old coffee orchards.
It has an establishment that buys raw nuts and produces macadamia essential oil and other products, which are sold to major cities like HCM City, Hà Nội and Đà Nẵng. – VNS
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