|People in Phong Điền District harvest lotus. VNA/VNS Photo Tường Vi
THỪA THIÊN -HUẾ – The central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế has applied several measures to preserve and sustainably develop Huế’s traditional lotus farming.
The People's Committee of Thừa Thiên-Huế Province has worked with the Việt Nam Academy of Agriculture, the University of Agriculture and Forestry under Huế University and research centres to research, conserve and develop Huế's lotus gene resources through tissue culture method.
The efforts aim to sustainably develop lotus cultivation and increase economic efficiency and income for people growing lotus in the province.
The province has focused on high-quality and productive lotus varieties and provided lotus farmers with training courses on seed care, land improvement and production in accordance with VietGAP standards.
In addition, the province has helped connect lotus growers with traders to ensure their products are consumed by supermarkets, tourist attractions and more in a bid to build a 'Huế Lotus Seed' trademark.
The provincial People's Committee is aiming that by 2025, the province will expand the new lotus planting area from 650ha to 745ha, with high-yield lotus for seed accounting for 85-90 per cent of the area and Huế purebred varieties 10-15 per cent of the area.
The average yield is estimated to be from 1,800-2,000kg of seed per hectare equivalent to an output of 1,200-1,400 tonnes of seed every year by 2025.
In recent years, provincial farmers have converted inefficient rice-growing land and abandoned lowland land to lotus cultivation, bringing high economic efficiency.
In Phong Điền District, the lotus growing area has expanded to about 355ha, concentrated in the communes of Phong Hiền, Phong An, Phong Hoà and Phong Chương and Phong Điền Township.
Trương Duy Hoà's family in Phong Điền Township is one example of successful lotus farming.
Hoà’s family converted their 3ha of rice farming land to lotus farming more than 10 years ago and the new plant has brought his family a stable income.
After grasping the needs of the market this year, his family sowed earlier than usual.
So while many households were still planting, his family was harvesting and selling lotus seed for more than a month.
On average, he sold more than 200kg of lotus seed daily. At the beginning of the season, lotus seed costed VNĐ80,000 (US$3.5) per kilo, double the normal price. After deducting investment costs, the average income from lotus seed was about VNĐ120 million (US$5,200) per hectare, 4-5 times higher than from growing rice.
In Quảng An Commune, Trần Hũu Đạo's family made a success of converting to lotus cultivation in 2018, on an area of more than 1ha of low-lying land that was inefficient for rice cultivation.
According to Đạo, they plant lotus from February and harvest from June to August.
It was not yet time to harvest the main crop, but thanks to good weather conditions, this year’s yield was estimated at about 4 tonnes per hectare, said Đạo.
“The advantages of lotus are it is easy to grow and adapts to low-lying and waterlogged areas, requiring little investment and care but stable yield and easy-to-sell products, so profits are high,” said Đạo.
“With the current price of fresh lotus seed at VNĐ40,000 (US$1.8) per kilo, my family would profit more than VNĐ100 million (US$4,400) in this year's lotus crop,” he said.
In Quảng Điền District, the area cultivating lotus is about 60ha with more than 200 farmer households participating, mainly in Sịa Town and the communes of Quảng Vinh, Quảng Lợi and Quảng An.
This year, thanks to the amount of alluvium deposited after the floods, the lotus plants in this area grew evenly and had good quality seed.
Lê Văn Thiên, vice president of Farmers' Association of Quảng Điền District, said this year's lotus crop was good and well priced.
“It is estimated that fresh unpeeled lotus seed costs VNĐ40,000 per kilo and finished lotus products cost VNĐ75,000-80,000 per kilo,” said Thiên.
“Lotus cultivation has not only improved the lives of households but also created jobs for many local workers,” Thiên said.
The association plans to keep working with local authorities and other sectors to encourage people to take advantage of the abandoned water surface, low-lying areas and inefficient soil to grow lotus in combination with fish farming to increase income, according to the vice president.
The association will also promote the establishment of co-operative groups and professional associations to stabilise the output for lotus products as well as mobilise people to develop Huế’s lotus varieties to build a brand. VNS