|Lotus tea product (Photo: VOV)
A project to restructure the agricultural production of Thap Muoi district, Dong Thap province, has paid special attention to lotus products, many of which have been exported to countries around the world, earning high profits.
Nguyen Xuan Thang, Director of Dai Viet Lotus Food Company in Binh Duong province, said his company has set up a branch in Dong Thap to buy lotus products that are in high demand.
Thang said, “First, farmers should improve their cultivation process. Second, more attention should be given to preliminary processing. Third, a team that specializes in trading should be set up. In the next year or two, we’ll set up a material growing zone.”
Ngo Khanh Huy, Director of Khanh Thu Services and Trading Production Company in Thap Muoi district, said that his company recently started producing canned lotus milk to diversify their lotus-based product line.
According to Huy, to ensure product quality and sources of supply, the company is working with farm households to create material areas that meet the standards of contracts signed with partners.
“In the next year or two, establishing a minimum material zone and a processing plant will be mandatory. Khanh Thu Company has been building a system that meets the ISO 2000 standards in order to have a qualified lotus growing zone,” said Huy.
Thap Muoi district has planned a lotus growing zone on some 300ha which has been divided into different subdivisions to serve tourism, supply raw materials, and build a craft village that will make silk thread from lotus roots. Businesses have been encouraged to produce lotus-based medicine, food, and cosmetics.
Under the One Commune One Product (OCOP) program, the locality has six lotus products certified three or four stars. It is coordinating with functional agencies to develop lotus value chains combining tourism, agriculture, and rural areas.
Nguyen Phuoc Thien, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, underscored the need to popularize the image of lotus to tourists more widely.
He said, “In the past, we only had a few kinds of lotus. Lotus planted for rhizomes is different from lotus grown for flowers or leaves. As lotus prices have dramatically increased in recent years, we plan to classify cultivation areas for each type of lotus and work with cooperatives and businesses to create suitable economic models. The most effective models will then be widely expanded across the province.”
Lotus has long been associated with Dong Thap province and has benefited local people much more than rice cultivation. But to further improve the value, brand, and prestige of Dong Thap lotus, linking farmers and businesses is the key, along with government policies to support the farmers with seeds, farming expertise, and equipment.