Dao ethnic minority woman escapes poverty by growing watermelons

(VOVWORLD) - Lo Lo May, a Dao woman living in poverty in Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province, changed her farming model and quickly became well-off. Now she is helping other women escape poverty.

Dao ethnic minority woman escapes poverty by growing watermelons - ảnh 1Lo Lo May (R) sells her watermelons (Photo: Cheo Thu/VOV)

Lo Lo May was born and grew up in a poor hamlet called Chu Cang Ho. Suspecting that her locality was not living up to its true farming potential, May did some research.

In 2018, with the support of the Agriculture Department of Bat Xat district, she borrowed some money and invested in watermelon cultivation. She set up a group of 8 local female farmers to apply some advanced techniques to one hectare of watermelon. They harvested 15 tons of the fruit in the first crop and sold them for more than 4,000 USD.

“Seeing that growing watermelons could be very profitable, I asked some other female farmers to join me, since it’s more efficient to work as a group,” said May.

Each group member earns nearly 20 USD per day in the watermelon season, according to Chao Pet Hang.

“My agricultural production was low and I lived in poverty for years. Then I joined May’s watermelon group and started making a lot more money”, said Hang.

The watermelons grown by May’s group now are trademarked and certified as high-quality. In each growing season the group sells 4 to 5 tons of watermelon for 30 cents a kilo.

Chao Hung Phay, Chairman of Tong Sanh commune’s People’s Committee, said many local farmers have learned new farming techniques and escaped poverty thanks to May’s watermelon cultivation model. 

“May’s model has been widely duplicated here. We plan to promote her techniques and provide good seedlings to efficiently produce high-quality watermelons,” Phay said.

May was awarded a certificate of merit by the Prime Minister recognizing her as an outstanding farmer in the 2015-2019 period. She is now planning to expand the district’s watermelon growing area and set up a large watermelon cooperative.