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Humble potatoes turn hot thanks to Bac Ninh farmers association
01 | 10 | 2007
The humble potato has become hot property in Viet Hung Commune’s potato granary thanks to efforts by the farmers’ association to promote production and consumption of the vegetable.

From purchasing, classifying and eventually selling to processing enterprises and traders, the association has made great changes to potato farmers in the commune.

Since operations began in 2003, the association’s field of influence has spread across the country. At first, the purchasing market was expanded from within the commune to markets across the district, but soon spread to traders in Hai Duong, Hai Phong provinces and eventually to Ha Noi.

And for local farmers who need a little push-start, the association also provides loans to buy seedlings.

The team have been dubbed the "right hand" of Nghiem Xa village potato farmers.

And it’s easy to see why. From the year 2000 annual consumption output has increased from 100-200 tonnes to between 4-5,000 tonnes in 2006. This accounts for 60 per cent of the total productivity of the whole Que Vo District, according to Nguyen Van Hoi, original founder of the team who has personally contributed VND50 million to the association’s loan scheme.

"Although the team hasn’t set up a formal mechanism of operation and only has a limited amount of capital, we are operating professionally under regulations," said Hoi.

Hoi added that the team’s use of fixed prices and the close co-operation between association members was "the reason why local farmers have such confidence in them."

Nguyen Huu Thinh, who owns a 0.5 ha potato area said with the team’s help, he could focus on improving quality and enhancing productivity.

"With each potato crop, my family earns VND25 million," he said.

But with increasing success comes increasing demand. To deal with this the association have co-ordinated with Tubers Research Centre, at the National Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology to buy a new high-productivity potato strain. They have also built a preservation storehouse with a designed capacity of 20-25 tonnes.

Viet Hung Commune’s specialised potato plantation is now expanded to 250 ha.

However, the team are still having problems raising sufficient capital and gaining support of relevant authorities in the transportation of goods.

Viet Nam News
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