29/10/2016 06:57 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

An Effective Model for Developing Cocoa Trees

Intercropping cacao trees has now strongly developed in Trang Bang District of Dong Nai Province in southern Vietnam. It is evaluated as a sustainable economic model that brings the locals high economic value.
The model of alternatively growing cocoa trees with other plants has been implemented in Dong Nai Province for many years, however, it has only strongly developed in the last four years and proved to be an effective way to help farmers get high profits. Accordingto Nguyen Viet The, Head of Trang Bom District’s Agricultural Promotion Division, the soil and climate in the region is very suitable to growing cocoa trees. Furthermore, the trees can be planted with other crops and they give fruit all year round. The older the trees become, the higher yield they produce. Besides, the price of cocoa beans has continuously increased in recent years that help farmers feel secure to invest in expanding the area for growing cocoa trees. To promote the development of the model, the agricultural promotion centres of both Trang Bom District and Dong Nai Province has provided farmers with seedlings and farming techniques, especially a program on giving a loan of 25 million dong for each household. After harvesting, the fresh cocoa beans are sold to Trong Duc Cocoa Company in Dinh Quan District, Dong Nai Province and Nguyen Loc Agricultural Investment and Development Company in Long Khanh, Dong Nai Province. These enterprises have established stations to buy raw productswhich are then preprocessed for export..

Putting down fertilizer around cocoa trees.

Applying techniques to growing cocoa trees helps bring a high yield.

Cocoa trees are intercropped with other plants on the same farming area.

Cocoa beans.

Cocoa trees are suitable to the soil in the area so they give a high yield.

Harvesting cocoa beans.

Cocoa beans have different colours.

Cocoa beans after harvest.

The price for dried cocoa beans is sold for at least 26,000VND/kg

Drying cocoa nuts for making chocolate.

Producing chocolate from cocoa materials harvested in Vietnam like Trang Bom
in Maroufaiseurs de Chocolate in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Visiting the 1ha farm of intercropping 600 cocoa trees with other plants owned by the family of Huynh Hai in Hamlet 3, Song Trau Commune, we saw the effectiveness of the model. Although it is the second crop, the farm yielded 10tonnes of cocoa beans/year and is expected to reach higher productivity in the years ahead. Apart from the farm of Huynh Hai, the one that is owned by Pham Van Lap in An Binh Hamlet, Trung Hoa Commune has also reached a high yield. After four years, his farm of cocoa trees intercropped with cashew trees yield 30 tonnes/ha. If each kilo of bean is sold for 6,000VND, his family will earn155 million dong after reducing all expenses.

Thanks to a large income from intercropping cocoa trees with other plants, the living standards of many families in the province like Huynh Hai and Pham Van Lap have been much improved.

So far, Dong Nai Province’s Agricultural Promotion Centre has organised 70 training courses on techniques and measures to prevent diseases for cocoa trees for 2,800 farmers and a series of workshops on growing, tendering and harvesting cocoa trees which attracted the participation of 600 famers. Furthermore, many field trips to example models have also been organised to help farmers exchange ideas and learn from others. To support farmers to grow cocoa trees effectively, the agricultural sector of Dong Nai Province compiled a document entitled “The process of intercropping, tending cocoa trees cashew trees and other forestry plants” to deliver to thousands of farmers.

Story: Nguyen Vu Thanh Dat - Photos:  Thong Hai