Bamboo shoot harvest season

NGHE AN – In September and November, highlanders go to the top of Pu Loi mountain in Tan Ky district to pick naturally growing bamboo shoots for food or to sell for 50,000-60,000 VND/kg.

In the morning of mid-September, Mr. Vi Van Ngoan, residing in Tien Ky commune, Tan Ky district, and 5 neighbors carried baskets, knives and sickles to the mountain more than 3 km from home to pick bamboo shoots. This is a seasonal job for people in the highlands of Nghe An during the Fall and Winter season.

Pu Loi mountain peak is located in Tien Ky, Dong Van and Tan Hop communes, with an area of ​​about 300 hectares, 1,000 m above sea level, with many naturally growing loi trees. Belonging to the bamboo family, the loi tree is over a meter tall, has pointed leaves, glossy bark, and a trunk as big as a thumb, growing in large patches. People often choose young trees to peel their bark to get bamboo shoots.

Loi tree grows on top of Phu Loi mountain, Tan Ky district.  Photo: Hung Le
Loi tree grows on top of Phu Loi mountain, Tan Ky district. Image: Hung Le

In the past three weeks, every time he went up the mountain, Mr. Ngoan always brought rice balls, food and water to work through lunch. With lots of bamboo shoots growing on the ground, a group of 6 people gather together to break or use a sickle to cut close to the base, then sit at the peeling spot, keeping only the 40-60 cm long shoots. One day, each person picks 10-15 kg.

“Loi bamboo shoots are a gift from the natural forest to Pu Loi peak. Therefore, foresters often advise each other to leave a few shoots in each bamboo shoot field so that the tree can grow and have a harvest next season,” Mr. Ngoan said.

In addition to local people, some families in districts such as Que Phong, Quy Hop, Nghia Dan… also take advantage of going to Pu Loi mountain to pick bamboo shoots. People from nearby families go back and forth during the day, people from far away each trip 2-3 days, building tents to sleep in the forest at night.

People in the highlands carry bamboo shoots home.  Photo: Hung Le
People in the highlands carry bamboo shoots home. Photo: Hung Le

Loi bamboo shoots are always in high demand. When people come down from the mountain, there are traders waiting to buy them for 50,000-60,000 VND/kg depending on the type. “Every day I pick about 10 kg, earning more than 500,000 VND. A family of 2-3 members earns nearly 2 million VND per bamboo shoot trip,” said Ms. Lo Thi Sen, 52 years old, residing in Dong Van commune. .

In addition to selling to traders, people also store 1-2 kg of bamboo shoots as food, processing them into many dishes such as boiled, stir-fried, pickled with garlic and chili, pickled and spicy… In recent years, visitors from all over come to People in the highlands of Nghe An often buy specialty bamboo shoots to bring back as gifts.

Even though they have income, bamboo shoot pickers still face many dangers. Pu Loi Mountain has many steep rocky slopes and tangled bushes, so people walking in the forest can easily fall, especially on rainy days when they have to carry heavy loads down the mountain; You can be attacked by snakes, snakes, and centipedes if you do not wear protective gear.

Loi bamboo shoots after being cleaned for processing as food.  Photo: Hung Le
After being peeled and cleaned, bamboo shoots can be processed into many dishes such as boiled, stir-fried, and pickled. Photo: Hung Le

Mr. Truong Cong Thach, Chairman of Tien Ky commune, said the area of ​​bamboo shoots in Pu Loi mountain is about 100 hectares. This year, people picked fewer bamboo shoots than before because they had harvested too much, causing the trees to not grow fast enough. “The government regularly propagates to people that besides exploiting, they also need to protect the rare genetic resources of bamboo shoots,” Mr. Thach said.

At the end of August, the Department of Science and Technology of Nghe An province agreed to accept the project to build a model for protecting, exploiting and processing bamboo shoots proposed by Tan Ky district. Authorities have built a process for managing, protecting, cultivating and planting bamboo shoots at places where people have harvested, on an area of ​​3 hectares.

“The goal of the project is to preserve the endemic bamboo shoot species of Tan Ky, thereby processing high quality products,” said Mr. Nguyen Quy Hieu, Head of Scientific Management Department, Department of Science and Technology of the province. Nghe An, said.

($1=24,000 VND)
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