Due to the increased demand for sea grape products in southern Vietnam and overseas, sea grape planting has become a prosperous way for many people in Khanh Hoa province in south-central province.
Fermentation is 1-1.5 tons per 1,000 tons, and the price is 35,000-40,000 VND per kilogram. The income of sea grape growers has increased.
Nngọc Thoại, a sea grape grower from Ninh Hải Ward in the town of Ninh Hòa, said that he made a profit of about 100-200 million VND from planting sea grapes.
During the harvest, he hired about 10 people to help collect, sort and process sea grapes.
He said: “The planting of sea grapes does not require a lot of investment, but it can bring a stable income and work.”
In addition to its own products, Thoại also bought products from other growers nearby to supply the domestic market and export.
But, like many other sea grape growers in the ward, Thoại is also part of a delayed project.
Toshi said: “Once the project resumes, I will have to move.” He added that if he finds another plantation, he will pay more to develop the business.
Trần Thanh Tùng, vice chairman of the Ninh Hải Ward People’s Committee, said that all 27 sea grape growing areas in the ward are on land that the South Korean investor STX Group plans to use for the heavy industry complex project.
“However, since the land was transferred to investors in 2009, no projects have been developed and the area has not been used yet,” Tùng said.
VõKhánhĐăng, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Thọ Commune in Ninh Hòa Township, said that local farmers have turned to growing sea grapes to earn more income than traditional aquaculture products.
However, they have not yet found a stable production of sea grapes, so they must accept the prices provided by wholesalers.
Sanger said that about 20 tons of sea grapes are used in the ward, adding that local authorities are considering including sea grapes in the list of major agricultural products to be developed.
He said: “We are committed to replacing sea grapes in local agricultural development plans. We need more research and assistance from expert institutions.”
Lê Bền, vice chairman of the Vietnam Mariculture Association, introduced the cultivation of sea grapes to Vietnam in Ninh Hdi Ward in 2004. He said that this kind of planting is very promising and has produced economic benefits.
In addition to economic benefits, sea grapes grow rapidly, have strong metabolic capacity and high nutrient absorption capacity, so they can improve the environmental quality of aquaculture. They can be grown at the same time as shrimp and fish, and separate from growing shrimp or fish alone. This kind of intercropping can increase income by two to three times.
They contain a lot of protein and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, as well as iodine, iron and vitamin A, which help prevent malnutrition and anemia.
Several coastal provinces in southern Vietnam are now growing sea grapes, including Khánh Hòa, Bình Thuận, Ninh Thuận, Kiên Giang and Vũng Tàu, PhúYên, BìnhĐịnh (south) and Quảng Ninh.
Bền said: “Seeing the high profits brought by the cultivation of sea grapes, many farmers are scrambling to occupy it.” He added that oversupply and inappropriate farming techniques may have an impact on emerging sectors.