Son La province, home to farmer billionaires

(VOVWORLD) - In a decade of implementing Resolution on agriculture, farmers, and rural areas, Son La province’s agricultural economy has lifted local farmers out of poverty and made them rich. Many farmers in Son La have become billionaires.

Son La province, home to farmer billionaires  - ảnh 1With more than 84,000 hectares, Son La has the largest fruit plantation area in the northern region and ranks second in Vietnam. (Photo: VOV)

“We now have an automatic watering system delivering water from a stream one kilometer away. Water is vital to ensuring these plum trees produce large, crunchy, and sweet plums,” Vi Van Viet, a Sinh Mun man, told VOV.

Viet of Bon Kham hamlet in Yen Chau district studied ways to grow plum, mango, and longan trees on a hillside and invested in an automatic watering system for his family’s orchard. One hectare of his orchard, Viet said, is devoted to early-ripening plums.

He recalled, “In the past, this area was mainly used to grow corn and cassava, but the profits were low. After researching plum growing models, I decided to invest in growing plums. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I still earned more than 8,000 USD a year.”

Viet's family and most other households in Bon Kham have grown corn and cassava for generations. The few fruit trees in home gardens produced fruit naturally with minimal care.

When he switched to growing fruit trees, Viet wasn’t sure the trees would produce fruits, but he was determined.

When his plum trees began to fruit, Viet discarded 30% of the output and kept only the best fruit to develop into early-ripening plums.

Then he invested in an automatic watering system, and now his early-ripening plums sell for more than 3 dollars per kilo. His one hectare of early-ripening plums has made Viet a billionaire.

Young billionaire Pham Van Duong, Director of the Bao Duong early-ripening longan cooperative in Trai Giong hamlet, Song Ma district, is a successful farmer.

He restructured his crops, did intensive farming of fruit trees on sloping land, took advantage of the available growing area for longan trees in the locality, and became rich, Duong was the first local farmer to grow early-ripening longans, and made big profits.

Duong began with the early-ripening longan tree of some regions but it wasn’t very successful.

“I went twice to the South to learn and brought home fertilizer specialized for the tree. But I didn’t understand the right way to tend and prune the tree. This type requires more careful pruning than the traditional longan tree,” Duong recalled.

“If you want a tree to produce 100 kilos, you must calculate how many bunches that will be. Excess bunches must be pruned. Otherwise, the fruit will be small and the selling price won’t be as high,” he explained.

6 years after doing the first local graft of early-ripening longan with traditional longan, all 13 longan hectares of Duong’s cooperative have been converted to the early-ripening longan variety.

From the 2022 longan crop, at 1.6 dollars a kilo, Duong and many other cooperative members have made tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Duong, “When the grafted tree begins to fruit, it needs a lot of water until close to harvest time. Longan trees of both regions can tolerate drought for a month, but without water, the fruit of early-ripening longan will stop growing. Incubation of early-ripening longan takes about 35 days - 10 days longer than the traditional longan.”

Son La province, home to farmer billionaires  - ảnh 2Son La province has 28,300 farming households named Good Farmers in Production and Business. In the photo is Pham Van Duong, Director of Bao Duong early-ripening longan cooperative in Song Ma district. (Photo: VOV)

According to Nguyen Thanh Cong, Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, 30% of the farmers in Son La make a good living from growing fruit trees. Many of them earn more than 8,000 USD per year. Farmers who make tens of thousands of dollars a year are no longer rare.

“We all see that mango, longan, and custard-apple can easily earn 8,000 to 12,000 USD a year. Custard-apple can earn as much as 41,000 USD,” said Cong.

This year 28,300 farming households in Son La were named Good Farmers in Production and Business. They’ve created jobs for more than 12,000 workers and provided capital, plant varieties, livestock, and production experience to poor households, helping more than 1,000 households a year out of poverty.