Farmer Diep Bao Thu in Ninh Thuan province tends his green asparagus (Photo: VNA)

Ninh Thuan (VNS/VNA) - Farmers in the south central province of Ninh Thuan are growing more green asparagus as the vegetable is offering higher profits compared to other crops.

Diep Bao Thu, who shifted from growing grapes to asparagus on his 2,000 sq.m farm in Ninh Hai district’s Xuan Hai commune last year, now harvests about 18 - 22 kilo of asparagus shoots a day.

He sell the vegetable for 50,000 – 90,000 VND (2-4 USD) a kilo and earns a profit of more than 1 million VND (44 USD) a day during the harvest.

Vu Van Thuan, who has grown asparagus on his 4,000sq.m land plot in Xuan Hai for four years, said the cost for 1,000 sq.m of asparagus was about 15 million VND. The asparagus plants are harvested for five to seven years, he said.

“Green asparagus can be harvested continuously for three months, and then is stopped for one month to help the plant recover,” he said.

Previously Thuan planted grape, jujube and spring onion on his 4,000sq.m land plot but the profit was not high.

The province’s dry, hot weather and loamy sand are suitable for growing green asparagus, according to local farmers.

Ninh Thuan has the least rainfall compared to other provinces and cities in the country.

Nguyen Dinh Thi, Vice Chairman of the Xuan Hai Commune People’s Committee, said that green asparagus had provided high profits for farmers for a number of years. The profit is five to seven times higher than that of other crops, he said.

The commune has 110 households planting a total of 21.5 ha of green asparagus, but supply has not met demand, he said.

Ninh Thuan authorities have encouraged farmers to expand the area under asparagus in drought-prone areas.

Local authorities also provided advanced farming techniques to asparagus farmers in recent years.

In 2016, the province’s Farmers Association started a project to grow green asparagus under Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) standards in Ninh Phuoc district.

The quality and yield under the project was 10-20 percent higher than from traditional farming.

Early this year, the province’s Department of Science and Technology transferred the technique of using drip irrigation to asparagus farmers.

The technique was first used by four farmers at the Tuan Tu Agricultural Services Cooperative to plant 1.4 ha of green asparagus in An Hai commune.

Hung Ky, director of the Tuan Tu Agricultural Services Cooperative, said previously asparagus shoots were often infected with fungus when spray irrigation methods were used.

The use of drip irrigation has helped solve the problem, he said, adding that farmers in other areas have visited the cooperative to learn about the technique.

The province has more than 100ha of green asparagus, mostly in Ninh Hai and Ninh Phuoc districts.

The province will develop asparagus areas with advanced farming techniques in a zone of 200ha in Ninh Phuoc and Bac Ai districts.

The province’s asparagus shoots are sold in the province and to HCM City, Hanoi and Da Lat city and other provinces.

The vegetable was first planted in the province’s Ninh Phuoc district eight years ago.-VNS/VNA