People in Thai Hoc ward, Hai Duong province's Chi Linh city, are expecting Mieu Son taro to be recognized as an OCOP product this year.
Members of the Farmers' Mieu Son Taro Cultivation and Selling Cooperative Team help each other harvest, preliminarily process, and package products before sale
Mieu Son taro is a local traditional variety that is planted every 6 – 7 months on sandy black ash.
The taro is round, tastes strong, contains many minerals good for the body, and can support the treatment of several diseases related to the heart, blood pressure, digestion, blood fat, etc.
Aside from common dishes like bone soup, Mieu Son taro is also pounded to make day (Corchorus capsularis) or loofah soup or sliced to be cooked with crushed peanuts, loofah, and a number of spices to create strangely delicious dishes.
Consumers appreciate Mieu Son taro for its specific quality, nutrition, and deliciousness.
However, a nonnative taro variety has appeared in the locality. The new variety can be harvested after more than three months of growing with longer tubers, higher productivity, but poorer quality; however, it is mixed with the original variety for sale.
To successfully restore the traditional taro region, in early 2020, the Farmers' Union of Thai Hoc ward launched the model Farmers' Taro Cultivation and Selling Cooperative Team with 13 members. Vu Dinh Tai, Chairman of the ward Farmers' Union, is the team leader.
The team has proactively developed an organic production process for the members to have taro for sale all year round, unified product packaging samples, connected sale with a CocoFood shop chain and supermarkets, and sold through personal relationships. Taro is packed and sent to supermarkets in and outside the province.
Duong Thi Hay's family is one of households having grown traditional taro on an area of four sao (360 m²) for years. When the Farmers' Unions of Chi Linh city and Thai Hoc ward mobilized the establishment of a taro cultivation and selling team, Hay and 12 other farmers volunteered to participate.
The team members often exchange production experience and help each other with harvesting, preliminary processing, and packaging of finished taro products for sale in the market.
The freshly-harvested main taro crop has been sold quite favorably with a productivity of 8 – 9 quintals/sao. With a selling price of VND25,000 – 27,000/kg in the fields, the households made a profit of VND15 – 20 million/sao.
"This crop, many of our households earned nearly VND100 million," said Hay.
Realizing that Mieu Son taro has enough factors to be turned into a local OCOP product, the Farmers' Unions of the ward and Chi Linh city have taken a lot of measures to support people, like making contact for unsecured loans for households deferring payment for organic fertilizers, encouraging farmers to enlarge concentrated cultivation areas to form commodity production ones, developing production and selling connection teams, and counseling authorities at all levels on working out mechanisms to assist farmers in perfecting products and registering for stamping, labeling, and packaging.
Since early this year, the ward authorities have zoned five hectares for Mieu Son taro cultivation with the participation of 35 households.
Relevant units are carrying out procedures and making a dossier to request the recognition of Mieu Son taro as an OCOP product.