Harvesting pepper in Kien Giang Province (Photo: VNA)

Kien Giang (VNS/VNA) - Farmers in Kien Giang province’s Go Quao district are using environmentally-friendly cajuput trees as trellises instead of concrete or wooden pillars to grow pepper plants.

Most of the Mekong Delta district’s 250ha of pepper are using cajuput trees, saving costs for farmers.

Nguyen Anh Vu, who has planted pepper with the trees in Go Quao’s Vinh Hoa Hung Bac commune for 14 years, said widespread use of the trees began in 2000.

Many farmers are also growing pepper under Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and organic standards.

The district has 20ha of pepper meeting VietGAP standards and 11.8ha of organic pepper meeting US, Japanese and EU standards.

The Phu Quoc Biology Nature Limited Company, Go Quao district agricultural authorities and a co-operative team of 12 households in Vinh Hoa Hung Bac and Vinh Hoa Hung Nam began the organic pepper model in 2017.

Vo Duc Huy, director of the company, said the growing of organic pepper had increased profits for farmers, and created more hygienic plants which are exported to the US and Germany.

Farmers who grow organic pepper are guaranteed a price of 30,000 VND (1.3 USD) a kilo higher than the market price, he said.

Organic pepper sells for 80,000 VND (3.4 USD) a kilo.

Phan Van Khang, who grows 2ha of organic pepper in Vinh Hoa Hung Nam commune, said: “Organic pepper develops well and is less susceptible to diseases compared to traditionally planted pepper.”

The company has taught households how to grow organic pepper, and use organic fertiliser and bio-products.

He harvested more than 6 tonnes of pepper in the harvest season and earned a profit of 520 million VND (22,200 USD).

Planting organic pepper has many benefits, including improving the fertility of soil and increasing the number of good microorganisms in the soil, according to farmers.

Duong Duy Duyet, deputy head of the district’s Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said: “Based on this success, the district will continue to cooperate with the company to expand organic pepper growing area.”

The district would also continue to offer advanced farming techniques for farmers to grow organic pepper, he said.    

This year, the district increased the organic pepper growing area by 10ha and plans to have 100ha of organic pepper in the future.

Pepper is a priority product for development in the province.-VNS/VNA