11/09/2016 16:59 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Raising Trionychild Turtles in Phu Xuyen

Thanks to the farmers who firstly raise Ba bagai or trionychild turtle like Tran Cong Bang, a war veteran, the village of Vinh Thuong in Khai Thai Commune, Phu Xuyen District has become a large trionychild turtle raising area in the north. 
The story about turtle raising in the district of Phu Xuyen is a story about war veteran Tran Cong Bang – a major of corps 12 (predecessor to Regime 559 of the Truong Son Army) who is a native of Khai Thai Commune in Phu Xuyen District. His village was once a poor area of land with sandy soil which made it  very difficult to grow crops. The locals mainly lived by rice farming, so they could not escape poverty.

Upon getting information about turtle raising, Bang saw a high economic value with the species and an increasing demand for it from the market. He believed that he would get a profit, even double, after two years despite a large amount of initial capital for labour, breeding turtles and feed.


With great determination, he borrowed money to hire labourers to dredge his pond of 200m2 and buy breeding turtles and food. He also had to travel to many localities nationwide to learn about effective models of raising turtles at all stages, such as building ponds, processing feed, feeding the turtles and cleaning the ponds and made a series of trial models before selecting the best for his farm.

 The turtle raising farm owned by the family of Tran Cong Bang in Khai Thai Commune.


Creating egg-laying areas for trionychild turtles in large ponds.


A pond for raising breeding turtles in Tran Cong Bang’s farm.

 During egg-laying season, farmers have to collect eggs for hatching.


Giving more food to turtles on warm days helps them easily absorb nutritious ingredients.


Fresh fish, a nutritious food for turtles.

After ten years, he has become known for raising turtles and has helped many other locals to develop the business. While taking us to visit his turtle raising farm, Bang said: “It is rather difficult to raise this species which has an unstable body temperature. Furthermore, it eats a lot on hot days but less on cold ones and even sleeps during the winter. The main food for this turtle is fresh fish which is processed suitably at different ages. For newly-born turtles, the fish must be cleaned, ground and mixed with crushed corn, soya beans and some minerals before being shaped into small rolls. However, when the turtlesgrow more, they can eat chopped fish.

He added that the turtles grow slowly, depending on the living environment so farmers must pay much attention to their changes every day. When the turtles are raised for one and half years, it is necessary give them more space so as not to affect their growth and the quality of their meat. The living environment must be regularly supervised. After a heavy rain, farmers must clean the ponds and change the water to helpthe turtles avoid diseases.

 

Breeding  turtles are sold for 300,000VND/each.


 Sandy ground is created to link with ponds for turtles to dry and lay eggs.

Eggs are buried in sand at a suitable temperature.


 Checking the colour of eggs to know exactly the day the baby turtles will be born.


Small areas are built for taking care of sick turtles.


 A Trionychild turtle can weigh up to 14kg

At present the family of Bang raises two species of turtles in 13 ponds with a total area of 2,700m2. It takes about 3-4 years to have commercial turtles of 4-5kg. The average price is 4-5 milliondong and 2-3 million dong for trionychild turtle and Ba ba tron respectively. In 2015, Bang sold 700 turtles at four tonnes, earning more than two billion dong.

Today, raising turtles has strongly developed in Khai Thai in Phu Xuyen District which brings high benefits to the locals. To further develop the trade, the local authorities have devised many incentive policies for farmers, such as creating favourable conditions for households in the district to take loans from banks to invest. The experienced farmers also share experiences in raising turtles and help others to develop the trade. Now, in Phu Xuyen Distictt there are more than 20 households raising turtles on a large scale mainly in Vinh Thuong Village in Khai Thai Commune. Each year, each household can earn from 500million to one billion dong /year.

From a poor area, Khai Thai has now become a bright spot in economic development thanks to raising turtles.

 
Story: Hien Thuc - Photos: Tat Son