Xiêm banana grown in Kiên Giang Province’s U Minh Thượng District. – VNA/VNS Photo Lê Sen
KIÊN GIANG – Farmers who grow xiêm banana in Kiên Giang Province’s U Minh Thượng District have earned big incomes since both prices and demand for it have been high since August last year.
In the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta district, traders buy the banana at the field at VNĐ 10,000 – 12,000 a cluster, a five-fold increase since before August.
The prices are expected to continue rising due to high demand for the fruit to make dried banana and jam for Tết (Lunar New Year), which falls on February 12, according to the district's Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.
U Minh Thượng, which is the province’s largest banana producer, has more than 2,300ha under the fruit, mostly in Minh Thuận and An Minh Bắc communes.
Nguyễn Văn Phương, who has a 4ha banana farm in An Minh Bắc’s An Thạnh Hamlet, said he earns around VNĐ80 million (US$3,500) a month from selling banana blossoms and fruits.
The price of banana goes up and down, but growing it does not require much tending or fertilisers, and provides an income year round, he said.
The price of banana flowers is also high now, with traders buying them at VNĐ8,000 – 10,000 a kilogramme.
Nguyễn Văn Đen, deputy director of the An Minh Bắc Agriculture Services Co-operative, said the price is high since supply is limited as farmers do not have much to sell.
The prolonged price fall in the past saw farmers become disillusioned and give up farming of the fruit, he said.
Besides, Typhoon Sinlaku in August last year flattened many banana farms, he added.
Banana is a crop that has helped many farmers in U Minh Thượng escape poverty and attain a stable life since the district’s alum-affected soil is suitable for growing it.
To increase their income, many farmers intercrop banana it with other crops like vegetables and other fruits and breed aquatic species in ponds in the orchard.
Most fresh bananas in the district are sold to traders since there is no local processing plant.
However, many households make products like wine, jam and dried banana.
Phạm Duy Tân, deputy head of the district’s Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the district would continue to persuade farmers to continue growing banana and intercrop.
It encourages local residents to make products from banana to serve tourists and improve their incomes, he added. – VNS