Farmers in sugar cane islet switch to grow fruits, breed fishes

SGGP
Once well-known as sugar cane islet in the Mekong Delta with sugar cane fields spreading for miles and miles, Cu Lao Dung District in Soc Trang Province no longer grows sugar cane because prices of sugar cane have dropped drastically for recent years. Farmers here decided to switch to grow other fruits and fish.

Farmers in Cu Lao Dung switch to grow fruits instead of sugar cane to earn more profit (Photo :SGGP)

Farmers in Cu Lao Dung switch to grow fruits instead of sugar cane to earn more profit (Photo :SGGP)

Sugar cane farmer Tran Hiep Thanh moaned that this year is the third sugar cane crop farmers have faced difficulties as prices have kept dropping while cost of investment has gone up.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Cu Lao Dung District’s statistics, from 2006 to 2010, sugar cane was grown in 8,500 hectares. However, because sugar prices have been not competitive leading to plummeting sugar cane prices. Farmers have thought about growing other trees.
Cu Lao Dung administrators have done agricultural re-structuring to suit its ecological and irrigation conditions. Farmers with farming areas alongside Hau River are encouraged to raise fish while their peers with inside farmlands are encouraged to plant vegetables and fruits.
Additionally, farmers in the head and tips of the island and near protection forest are advised to start ecotourism or experience tourism.
Farmer Tran Van Phuc in Dai An Commune is the first resident who took the lead in switching to grow other saying that after being consulted by experts, he traveled to An Nhon islet in Dong Thap province at the heart of the Mekong Delta to learn how to grow longan. At first he piloted to grow the fruit on 1 hectare. He harvested 22 tons after three years each ton worth over VND25,000 a kilogram averagely. He earned profit of VND500 million (US$ 21,522 ) much higher than growing sugar cane.
Therefore, he decided to grow longan in 10 hectares and spend more on watering system and fertilizers.
From his success, farmer Phuc guided other farmers in the islet. Now, longan is being grown on 400 hectares.
In addition to longan, farmers have also turned to grow mango, grapefruit, guava , orange, dragon, sweet potatoes and coconut on 3,638 hectares as well as breed fish on 3,960 hectares.
Chairman of Cu Lao Dung People’s Committee Tran Be Tu said thanks to successful agricultural restructuring based on the islet’s strength and technological application into production to improve productivity and quality, a farmer’s average annual income was VND41 million in 2019. The rate of poor households dropped by 3.74 percent in the year.
To get more success, he said cooperative production is needed; accordingly, Cu Lao Dung District has established 12 cooperatives and 22 other cooperative groups with orientation of agricultural production as per global Good Agricultural Practices standard to meet local demand and exports. The District also registered brand names for mango, longan, grapefruit, dragon and coconut.
Cu Lao Dung District Party Chief Vo Thanh Quang said the District is focusing ecotourism, experience tourism, community tourism, and religion tourism in the area with 1,600 hectares of mangrove forest and 25,000 hectares of coastal alluvial soil.

By Huynh Loi - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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