|Buon Choah rice fields at the foot of the Nam Blang volcano and near the Krông Nô river, in the UNESCO-recognized Global Geopark in Dak Nong province (Photo: VOV)
Buon Choah commune’s rice fields are at the foot of the Nam Blang volcano near the Krông Nô river, within the UNESCO-recognized Global Geopark in Dak Nong province.
The area grows the ST24 and ST25 rice varieties, the best rice in the world. Tran Thi Thanh Van, President of the Buon Choah Farmers’ Association, says the land, which is rich with alluvium from the Krong No river and minerals from volcanic deposits, produces uniquely flavored rice varieties. Ho Quang Cua, who cross-bred the ST24 and ST25 rice varieties, says the rice grown in Buon Choa is more delicious than rice from anywhere else.
Van told VOV: “Nowhere else in Vietnam has the same geological conditions. We have standardized our production and quality. Many businesses come to buy our rice, which has a clear origin. Our hope is that, once we have built a rice trademark, we can protect it against confusion with rice from other places. We always abide by production and quality standards like VietGap and other high standards for organic rice.”
|Members of Buon Choah Agricultural Cooperative are drying rice. (Photo: VOV)
Trieu Thi Lan, a Tay ethnic minority woman who lives in Cao Sơn hamlet, said local farmers now grow their rice to the VietGap standard in order to earn higher incomes.
“We have machines to plow, sow, fertilize, and harvest, so farm work is now lighter. But we carefully time when we sow seeds or apply fertilizer, so productivity is higher,” Lan said.
Pham Xuan Lai, Vice President of the Buon Choah Agricultural Cooperative, said the Cooperative has coordinated with farmers to grow 2 crops per year of the ST24 and ST25 varieties on an area of 440 hectares. The average yield of the latest crop was 10 tons per hectare, a slight decrease compared to the previous crop. Farmers make a profit of about 2,100 USD per hectare. The cooperative has 3 outlets in Krong No district, Dak Nong province, and Buon Ma Thuot city in Dak Lak province. Mr. Lai said: “We apply the VietGap standards to ensure product quality with origin traceability, so the value of our products have increased. Trucks are now waiting to load the rice.”
Doan Gia Loc, Head of Krong No district’s Agriculture and Rural Development Section, says Buon Choah rice is a 4-star product in the One Commune One Product (OCOP) program. The district is building a collective trademark for Krong No rice in order to trace the origin and certify local specialties. Because land is limited, from now on the district will only grow ST24 and ST25 rice to the VietGap standard or another high-quality organic rice standard, said Loc.
“The district and agencies will coordinate with the Cooperative to manage production. Policies and mechanisms for refining our raw products are needed. We intend to sell, not just rice, but processed products like rice noodles and rice cakes which have added value. For example, a kilogram of rice sells for 1 USD, but after being processed it can be sold for 2 USD.”
Krong No is a destination on the "Epic of Water and Fire" route in the UNESCO-recognized Global Geopark in Dak Nong province. Thanks to the natural advantages of volcanic land, rice grown in Krong No district has a unique flavor.