Despite the remarkable growth recorded in the peppercorn sector in the last three years, local farmers are enduring damage fuelled by unsustainable development.
Farmers are harvesting peppercorn (Photo: VNA)
Rapid plantation expansion, intensive farming and increasingly destructive insects lie at the root of the issue.
Vietnam peppercorn is sold to over 90 countries and territories, accounting for 30 percent and 50 percent of the total global production and exports respectively. Currently, the Vietnamese peppercorn sector produces 2.16 tonnes of dried berries per hectare and it is listed as one of the world’s highest yields. However, the country has no official document guiding the farming process.
Do Ha Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Pepper Association, said in a recent conference that high prices have persuaded farmers to expand cultivation without any planning. They end up planting the crop on unsuitable land and overusing fertilisers, causing the plants to degenerate quickly and fall victim to diseases, he added.
It is the right time for the Vietnamese pepper sector to focus on improving processing technology to increase the quality of pepper and meet global food safety standards, Nam declared.
According to Dr Le Ngoc Bau, head of the Central Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute, the organisation of the current pepper production model requires a shakeup in a bid to group scattered small-scale family-run farms.
Working together will make it easier for those households to access bank loans, technological advances and related service providers, he explained.