GIA LAI — Hbông Commune is located in a rocky area, and after many years of struggling to find crops that could be adapted to the arid land, local farmers decided on sugarcane.
Sugarcane has fundamentally changed production methods and people’s lives in Chư Sê District, the Central Highland province of Gia Lai.
Land of gravel and stones
For many years, people in the commune planted many seeds with the hope of finding an effective livelihood. However, the soil is full of gravel and stones making many crops such as corn, cassava, pepper and coffee unprofitable.
To purify the rocky area, many households have chosen sugarcane. But at first, not many farmers were brave enough to try it.
As one of the pioneers, Đinh Văn Tạ, said that after so many years of struggling with cassava and maize, his family were not well off.
But since he started planting sugarcane, his family’s life has improved. Tạ’s family now has over 40 hectares of sugarcane.
Tạ said in 2020-21 the sugarcane crop was 110 tonnes for each hectare, after deducting expenses, his family earned about VNĐ2 billion (US$88,300) for 40 hectares of sugarcane.
Nay Vang, another local farmer, also escaped from poverty thanks to sugarcane.
With more than 1.5 hectares of soil full of gravel and stone, maize could not bring his family a good life. If the weather was good, he earned more than VNĐ9 million ($400) per year. But if the weather was severe, he earned VNĐ2-3 million only. He and his wife had to find other seasonal work to bring up their four children.
In 2017, he was introduced to supportive police to plant sugarcane of the Thành Thành Công Gia Lai Co. Ltd. Since then, sugarcane has helped improve their incomes.
Vang has harvested three crops. And the most recent earned VNĐ250 million ($11,000) in profit.
“Our life was improved much and we are excited,” he said.
Vang’s family is eager to welcome a cosy Tết (Lunar New Year) festival thanks to the sugarcane.
Bùi Văn Cường, deputy chairman of the Hbông Commune People’s Committee, said that during the past five years, sugarcane had become the main crop in the commune with a total area of nearly 1,000 hectares.
Sugarcane is particularly well-suited to the stony and arid land. Finding the right plant not only contributes to improving local people’s lives but also develops a stable sugarcane area, improving the competitiveness of the sugarcane industry.
The presence of sugarcane has changed local people’s lives with specific investment policies, from supporting technical solutions to supporting seeds and mechanised machines for people to plant and take care of sugarcane.
Many households now feel enriched thanks to the plant, said Bùi Văn Cường.
Vũ Thị Lan, director of the TTC Gia Lai Co. Ltd., said during the past year, the company always worked closely with local farmers in developing sugarcane.
The model has helped local farmers to live well on the rocky land with a productivity of 85 tonnes per hectare on average. — VNS