Le Van Muoi, who grew 4,000 sq.m of watermelon under Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards, harvested watermelon last week and sold them for VND8,000 (US$35 cent) a kilo.
After deducting all production costs, he was able to earn a profit of VND30 million (US$1,300) per 1,000 sq.m. “This is the first year I’ve used VietGAP standards. I’m very happy because I had a bumper crop and high prices,” he said.
In previous years, Muoi grew watermelon using traditional methods and did not see high profits.
In recent years, growing watermelon for Tet brought high profits for farmers who decided to expand cultivation for the Tet crop.
In Ly Van Lam commune’s specialised watermelon cultivation area, farmers have planted 73 ha for this Tet, up 13 ha against last Tet. Of the figure, 21 ha are planted under VietGAP standards.
Farmers have planted red and yellow flesh watermelons and the seedless variety, all of which have had a high yield and good quality.
The commune’s watermelon is famous for its sweetness.
Many watermelon farmers have escaped poverty and become wealthy, according to the Ca Mau Province Farmers Association, which has organised courses on farming techniques to help them improve their profits.
For this crop, farmers earned an average profit of more than VND15 million for each 1,000 sq.m, according to the association.
Many farmers who grow vegetables in the commune have applied VietGAP standards for mustard leaves, water spinach, cucumber, bitter melon and tomato.
Nguyen Chi Thanh, who owns a 1.3 ha garden in the commune’s Chanh Hamlet, said his family had grown five types of vegetables and fruits under VietGAP standards, including bitter melon.
Last week, traders purchased his bitter melon for VND10,000 a kilo, which is expected to rise near Tet, he said.
“My family will have a good Tet thanks to our use of VietGAP standards,” he said.
Growing VietGAP vegetables normally offers a profit of 15-20% higher than normal vegetables.
Nguyen Van Nhan, chairman of the Ly Van Lam Commune Farmers Association, said the farmers should develop a brand for vegetables and expand their sales network.
The Ly Van Lam Agricultural Service Co-operative, which has planted vegetables under VietGAP standards, plans to develop five sale points in Ca Mau city this year and expand its vegetables planted under VietGAP standards to 10ha.
As of last December, the cooperative had planted five hectares of VietGAP vegetables.