|Farmers in Vinh Long province have brought in a good harvest of lac and are earning big profits (Photo: baovinhlong.com.vn)
Lac, a species of sedge used to make mats and other handicraft products, has a yield of 10-15 tonnes per hectare in the district, up a tonne from previous crops.
Traders are buying it at VND15,000 – VND18,000 a kilogramme, VND1,500 – VND2,000 higher than during the last crop.
Nguyen Kim Ba, who has 2,000sq.m of the sedge in Trung Thanh Dong commune, said there is more sunlight this time, creating better conditions for the plant.
As a result, the quality of the lac is also high and traders are keen to buy them, he said.
He has earned a profit of VND10 million (US$440) this time, he said.
Nguyen Van Tam, a local trader, said the price of lác is high because supply cannot meet demand.
He buys one to two tonnes daily and sells to mat making villages in other provinces like Tien Giang and Dong Thap.
More than 1,000 households in Trung Thanh Dong commune have had good incomes after switching to grow lac on their infertile paddy fields.
Lac provides four to five harvests a year and is easy to grow.
The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long has around 306 hectares under the crop, mostly in Trung Thanh Dong and Thanh Binh communes.
Trung Thanh Dong, the district’s largest lac planting area, has 227 hectares.
Besides providing stable incomes to farmers, the sedge also creates jobs for people who have to harvest, split, dry and spin the plant and weave mats, according to the district Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
Huynh Van Vu, Chairman of the Trung Thanh Dong communal People’s Committee, told Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper that farmers in the commune’s Dai Hoa, Dai Nghia and Phu Nong hamlets have converted all infertile paddies into lac fields.
“The profit from lac is six times that from rice.”
The commune has nearly 3,000 people, or 70% of its workforce, whose jobs are related to the crop.
Labourers earn VND60,000 - VND70,000 (US$2.6 - US$3) a day from harvesting, splitting, drying, and spinning it.
The district will encourage farmers to grow lac in zoned areas and saltwater-contaminated areas, according to the bureau.
Authorities would continue to identify buyer companies to guarantee outlets for products made from lac, it added.