Thousands of bamboo bushes have grown green after 6 years, planted by an old farmer in the highlands of Dak Nong right on bauxite soil contaminated with alum, bringing in billions of dong a month.
Let bamboo “spawn” out of season
Crossing Highway 28, section Bon Bu Nor (Dak Som commune, Dak Glong district, Dak Nong province) many people were surprised when a long stretch of road was covered with bamboo groves. These bamboo were planted by husband and wife Mr. Le Minh Hoang (72 years old) and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Sang (71 years old) more than 6 years ago, becoming a “unique” bamboo garden in Dak Nong.
In 1997, Mr. and Mrs. Hoang left the coastal city of Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa province) to go to Dak Nong. At that time, the area where my grandparents lived was still a wasteland, mainly inhabited by indigenous Ma ethnic people. People here farming are still very backward, dependent on the weather and only around a few crops.
In the rainy season, local people often go to the forest to pick bamboo shoots and bamboo shoots, so Mr. Hoang’s family buys them for processing. However, the harvesting of bamboo shoots only lasts about 3 months, largely based on human strength and weather. If it rains a lot, the new bamboo shoots will be abundant, leading to an unstable supply.
“The bamboo shoot season here only has a few months of the rainy season, and the source of raw materials is not good. Knowing that Taiwan has bamboo shoots for year-round harvest, I sent my son over there to learn and buy bamboo shoots to try.” Ms. Sang recounted the family’s decision.
In early 2017, having 50 bamboo shoots in hand, Ms. Sang’s family planted a trial immediately. However, due to inexperience in caring, by the end of the year, only 30 trees survived. Fortunately, 8 months later, the bamboo shoots were harvested.
“The bamboo shoots are very delicious, not bitter like wild bamboo shoots or common bamboo shoots. Soon after, we learned how to propagate and from more than 30 original roots up to now, the farm has thousands of bamboo shoots in four seasons, in which The bamboo shoots for harvest have been 6 years old,” shared Mr. Le Minh Hoang – the owner of the bamboo garden, who has nearly 20 years of experience in making bamboo shoots.
In particular, Mr. Hoang handles bamboo shoots that are out of season, thereby giving a higher income and not having to compete with the local people’s bamboo shoots.
“In the rainy season, indigenous people often go to the forest to pick bamboo shoots and sell them to traders. During this time, we let the bamboo shoots grow into bamboo to provide a source of seed for the coming years. In the dry season, they grow bamboo. I will use water to irrigate and stimulate bamboo shoots to produce off-season bamboo shoots. On average, every day we harvest about 3 tons of fresh bamboo shoots, with the selling price of about 10,000 VND (0,5 $)/kg,” said Mr. Hoang.
Thanks to taking care of bamboo shoots in off-season, on average, every month, if the harvest is full for 30 days, after deducting investment, production costs and hiring workers for preliminary processing and packaging, Mr. Hoang and his wife have an income. hundreds of millions of dong. This is also the amount that a farmer might have to make all year if he cultivates other crops on the same area.
Collect billions thanks to bamboo
For more than 20 years with this land, Ms. Sang and her husband realized that bamboo shoots have a stable market and prices are not low compared to other agricultural products. In particular, bamboo grows on many types of soil, including bauxite and alkaline soils like most of the family’s land. Therefore, up to now, this old farmer and his wife from Binh Dinh have expanded their production area, of which about 17 hectares are planted with bamboo.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Sang added that, compared with other crops, growing bamboo for bamboo shoots in four seasons requires little care and very high economic efficiency. Each hectare can plant 800 bamboo shoots, after 8 months there will be bamboo shoots to harvest. In the rainy season, which is the bamboo shoot season, Ms. Sang and her husband switch to propagate bamboo shoots to supply units in need.
“Currently, companies and farms in Gia Lai, Quang Ngai, and Dak Lak all order our seedlings in the amount of about 100,000 originals/year, with prices ranging from 80,000 to 100,000 VND/seedling. In addition, the old bamboo trees in the garden have also been contacted by many units to purchase large quantities to produce handicrafts. This is an agro-forestry tree, so it is not only economically viable but also bamboo. It also contributes to greening bare land and bare hills of Dak Som area,” added Ms. Sang.
In order to help poor households in the area, Ms. Sang’s family also received about 10 local laborers to work, creating stable jobs with an income of 300,000-480,000 VND (15$)/person/day. Particularly in the season of harvesting and processing bamboo shoots, the number of employees working in the cooperative of Mr. Hoang and his wife is up to 30 people.
Recently, Mr. Hoang and his wife also supported an ethnic minority household with difficult circumstances with seeds, soil, and fertilizer to grow bamboo shoots. Mr. Hoang shared: “I came here to do business, but the land still has many difficulties and shortages. Now that I transfer technology to local people, helping them escape poverty, my spirit is more comfortable and happier.” .