With low initial investment, easy’s cultivation and maintenance on otherwise abandoned shrimp ponds, and high economic value, sea grapes have helped households in Khanh Hai town of Ninh Hai district prosper.
Six households in Ninh Hai district participated in a pilot sea grape cultivation project on a total of 15 hectares and economic efficiency has been great.
Tran Hung, resident of Khanh Hai town, for example, has only four hectares of sea grapes but produces more than 60 kilogrammes of fresh sea grapes each day, worth VND3three million (US$135). In a year, Hung make a profit upwards of about VND1 billion (US$44,900).
Nguyen Van Thach from the economic-planning department of Khanh Hai town, said sea grapes can be grown in the sea bed or at the bottom of ponds and lakes or grow in net bags floating in the sea.
In some places, sea grapes are grown in cement tanks or pool filled with sea water. Growing sea grapes at the bottom of bodies of water has advantages, including its low cost, big water area and protection from poor weather, according to Thach.
Depending on area, seabed soil, water resources, light direction, the initial cost of seedlings, water environment improvement, and materials, the initial investment for an average pond of 3,000 sq.m can range from VND50 million to VND70 million (US$3,140).
Each 1,000 sq.m are should produce roughly one tonne of sea grapes.
In a fertile environment, sea grapes can be ready to harvest within half a month. They can be grown alongside shrimp and fish.
Sea grapes are usually eaten raw with vinegar, as a snack or in a salad. Sea grapes in Ninh Thuan are processed into different forms like dried sea grapes, powdered sea grapes and spices.
Pham Ngoc Thuong, Chairman of Khanh Hai town People’s Committee, said Ninh Thuan’s sea is suitable for growing sea grapes. With its economic benefits and easy care, sea grapes can be a good direction to expand, he said.
The export potential of sea grapes is huge because it is a popular food in Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Malaysia.
The Khanh Hai town People’s Committee is drawing up a plan to support and give advice to households who wish to expand production and processing while ensuring safe and hygienic production.