Khanh Hoa: Stable income from Seaweed grapes farming
Khanh Hoa - economic efficiency from Seaweed grapesSince 2004, Japanese seaweed grapes has been introduced to Vietnam and grown mainly in Khanh Hoa province. Thanks to favorable environmental conditions and suitable farming methods, Khanh Hoa grape seaweed grows quickly and becomes a commodity with high economic efficiency.
Okinawa Seaweed grapes of D&T Company received the 4-star OCOP accreditation in Khanh Hoa
Seaweed grapes, known scientifically as Caulerpa lentillifera, is a seaweed belonging to the family of Caulerpaceae (green algae). As its shape resembles bunches of little grapes or balls of caviar, Seaweed grapes have been famously known by the name “green caviar”. This nutritious delicacy had been widely farmed in some warm seas in the Pacific region such as the Philippines, Micronesia, Java, etc., before gaining tremendous popularity and being introduced to Japan.
According to many research papers, round Seaweed grapes not only are a rich source of calcium and protein, which help prevent osteoporosis, but also contain various fatty acids such as amino acid (AA), linoleic acid (LA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which can reduce cholesterol level, maintain collagen structure, prevent heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, and act as an antioxidant. Therefore, Seaweed grapes have a higher nutritional value compared to conventional protein-producing plants. A number of studies from Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography have shown that sea grapes have antibacterial, antifungal properties which can effectively prevent high blood pressure and rheumatism in the elderly.
Mr. Duy received the record of the largest Seaweed grapes farming area and the largest yield in Vietnam
Dr. Nguyen Huu Dai, Head of Marine Plant Department of Nha Trang - Institute of Oceanography, shared that back in 2006, Seaweed grapes were discovered by scientists in Phu Quy island, Binh Thuan province of Vietnam, yet they had fairly low nutritional value and a much smaller size compared to the ones imported from Japan. Since 2004, Seaweed grapes sourced from Japan were introduced to Vietnam and grown mainly in Khanh Hoa province.
Thanks to favorable environmental conditions and suitable farming methods, Khanh Hoa Seaweed grapes quickly flourished and became a commodity with high economic potential. According to Mr. Vo Khac En, Deputy Head of the Fisheries Sub-Department, Khanh Hoa Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by the year 2020, the province will have nearly 50 hectares of sea grapes with a yield of more than 400 tons a year.
Sustainable direction from Seaweed grapes in Khanh HoaMr. Nguyen Quang Duy, Director of D&t Import Export - Trading - Produce Limited Company (D&T Company) shared that, apart from strict requirements on ingredients and nutrient content of water, Seaweed grapes only grow in at the temperature range between 25 to 28 degrees Celsius, and with the salinity range between 30% to 35%. Blessed with many bays and nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, Khanh Hoa is truly a paradise for Seaweed grapes to thrive, ensuring the necessary quality for exporting to foreign markets.
However, one limitation of the industry is the short post-harvest storage time (from 5-7 days), which makes it difficult to reach faraway customers. In the light of this, D&T Company has done research to create a special product of Okinawa branded as dehydrated Seaweed grapes with the advantage of long storage time yet maintaining intact nutritional value and deliciousness. In December 2021, having met the 4-star OCOP standard of the Khanh Hoa OCOP Program in 2021, the product was loved and selected by many local agencies, as well as domestic and foreign customers. In addition to Okinawa dehydrated Seaweed grapes, the company also offers many other product lines that meet stringent export standards to the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan markets such as Okinawa dried sea grapes and Vmax fresh Seaweed grapes, etc.
Le Huu Hoang - Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee presented the typical rural product award for the unit's Seaweed grapes
Display booth of Seaweed grape products of D&T . company
Mr. Duy, however, particularly takes pride in his mission of helping local farmers have a new sustainable livelihood that ensures a stable income compared to risky traditional jobs such as fish and shrimp farming or commercial fishing. Rising gas prices due to lack of supply have been a burden to Khanh Hoa fishermen who work in the fishing industry, which requires a vast amount of fuel to power vehicles such as boats and motorboats. The company has not only organized training programs and offered financial support to help fishermen convert abandoned lands to Seaweed grapes farms, but also provided technical guidance and offtake agreements. In 2021, despite the complicated developments of the pandemic, D&T Company still ensures jobs for more than 200 local workers, allowing them to continue to work and earn a stable income.
D&T company's Seaweed grapes farming and production facility
In addition to the advantages of human resources and favorable natural conditions, supportive policies from Khanh Hoa province also act as a driving force for the business to thrive. The recent Action Program to implement Resolution of the Politburo on the development plans of Khanh Hoa province to 2030, with a vision to 2045, has introduced decisions to foster economic restructuring associated with growth model innovation which gravitates towards the direction of persification and enhancing value efficiency.
Therefore, Mr. Duy hopes that the project will promote local businesses, as well as D&T Company in particular, to expand their scale, increase the yield, and meet the standards of larger export orders. This will also create necessary conditions to improve the product value, bringing the Seaweed grapes of Khanh Hoa to global consumers, and supporting coastal farmers to improve their quality of life.