KIÊN GIANG — Nguyễn Đông Thái, 42, a high-school teacher living in Vĩnh Thuận District in the Mekong delta province of Kiên Giang, and his wife are harvesting their third cantaloupe crop.
Thái began growing Japanese-varieties Cantaloupe applying advanced technology in mid-2021 in his home at Bình Phong Hamlet, Vĩnh Bình Nam Commune.
Thái and his wife own a modern greenhouse with thousands of fruit-laden cantaloupe vines ready to be harvested.
Thái was previously a full-time official at the Vĩnh Thuận District’s Education and Training Department, and his wife, Nguyễn Thị Hồng, was a teacher of Vĩnh Bình Nam Primary and Secondary School.
Thai said in early 2020, he had the opportunity to visit a Cantaloupe-growing greenhouse in Hòn Đất District.
He was devoted to researching agricultural books. After six months of researching, he had a chance to meet and receive a technical transfer from an agricultural company based in HCM City.
Thái learnt from experts, science and technology transfer training courses, and local experienced fruit growers, spending time studying technology to apply to production.
He received a VNĐ300 million loan from a supportive fund for farmers under the provincial Farmers’ Association. Additionally, he invested in building the first cantaloupe-growing greenhouse with family savings.
He applied the advanced technology transferred from the HCM City-based company. However, he had to study and adjust to cultivating land in his locality.
Thanks to the knowledge he learned from the Teachers’ Training College, he made up a schedule including the stages of watering and fertilizing suitable for each growth stage of the cantaloupe plants.
From the plan he programmed himself, the work at the greenhouse did not affect the time at the office and school.
“When it comes to harvesting or newly-planting, I hire about three seasonal labourers,” Thái said.
This Japanese cantaloupe can be harvested after 75 to 80 days.
Fortunately, Thái has succeeded right from the first season.
The cantaloupe-growing greenhouse developed well. On average, each cantaloupe weighs about 1.5 – 2 kg, with the selling price from VNĐ45,000 – 50,000 per kilo.
In the first crop, he harvested 4 tonnes. After deducting production costs, he made a profit of VNĐ100 million.
Thái said that four factors led him to successfully grow cantaloupe: suitable cultivation land, capital, technology and the grower’s dynamism and hard work.
“Cantaloupe is a fastidious plant. The care must be strictly scientific and technical, meticulous in each stage of development,” he said.
The average initial investment cost was about VNĐ800 million per 1,000 sq.m and the average production cost per crop was about VNĐ100 million.
Thái now owns three greenhouses. Each house is 1,000 sq.m.
Nguyễn Văn Thoàn, permanent deputy secretary of the Vĩnh Thuận District party committee, said Thái’s model was a new form of planting in the district.
From the initial success of Thái, along with the province’s policy on developing high-tech agriculture, Vĩnh Thuận District authorities will continue to direct agencies to perfect support policies for high-tech agriculture.
“Compared to other models, Thái’s high-tech agricultural model is not large in scale but shows a new production mindset and is suitable to the development trend in agriculture,” Thoàn said. — VnExpress News
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