The central province of Ninh Thuan is developing eco-tourism activities by opening up farmers’ fruit orchards to visitors, according to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
About 800 hectares of many kinds of fruits, including mangosteen, durian, and rambutan, are grown in Lam Son commune in the province’s Ninh Son district.
Visitors can pick the fruits for a low price of 10,000 (0.45 USD) per kilo for rambutan, 35,000 VND (1.5 USD) per kilo for mangosteen and 40,000 VND (1.8 USD) per kg for durian.
About eight years ago, the orchard owners began inviting friends during the harvest season to introduce them to fruits grown in the provinces of the Mekong Delta.
Since the fruits cultivated in Ninh Thuan province have a much higher quality than others planted in the Mekong Delta, and a higher productivity rate, farmers now earn about three times more than they made from rice or corn.
Phan Huu Thanh, a farmer from Lam Son commune in Ninh Son district, said he started a fruit orchard in 1990 and now has about 2.3ha with 370 plants of various kinds of fruits, including durian, mangosteen, green grapefruit and rambutan. He earns about 150 million VND (7,000 USD) per year.
Most orchard owners collect an average of 40,000 VND (1.8 USD) per visitor, he said, adding that most visitors book a day or week before the harvest season. There is no need to buy a ticket, but visitors must pay for the fruits they pick.
To protect the orchard from damage, Thanh receives no more than 50 visitors a day.
Nguyen Thi Hoa, from Da Lat, said her family visits Thanh’s fruit orchard every harvest season to pick fruits and enjoy chicken dishes made with fruits.
Lam Son commune has about 210 households cultivating fruit on a total of 236ha that once was used to grow rice or corn.
Truong Thanh Quyen, chairman of the commune’s People’s Committee, said the fruit orchards had improved the lives of local farmers, who have been encouraged to expand their orchards.
Besides fruit orchards, the province is developing the cultivation of vineyard grapes for winemaking.
About 400 households cultivate grapes on a total area of 180ha in Ninh Hai district, according to Luu Xuan Hai, vice chairman of Ninh Hai district’s Vinh Hai commune.
Chau Thanh Hai, Director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, said the department was working with other districts and cities in the province to expand the fruit orchard model.-VNA