Tue, 22 Apr 2014. Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:42
That Japanese village whose name is Kawakami Mura is located at Minamisaku district, Nagano province to the west of Tokyo. The Japanese call it “miracle village”. It was one of the poorest and most exhausted lands of Japan in the 1960s. However, thanks to planting lettuce, Kawakami Mura has nowadays become the richest village over the country.
In 2012, Mr. Hironosi Tsuchiya, the director of HT Capital Investment Fund, after several trips to Dalat City, recognized that it was a fertile land with moderate climate suitable for year-round cultivation of vegetables. Despite such advantages, farmers here had to work hard but did not earn much. There need to be a method to improve Dalat vegetable. He immediately thought of Kawakami Mura where the climate was far worse than Dalat weather. Villagers of Kawakami Mura only cultivate for just 4 months each year, the rest 8 months they can not due to freeze. Nonetheless, the average income of a household is $ 250.000. After returning home, he came to Kawakami Mura at once, introducing Dalat and encouraging farmers to develop vegetable planting there. Two young farmers, the directors of Lacue Company, Mr. Masahito and Mr. Takaya Hanaoka decided to visit Dalat. After researching conditions, they promptly associated with a local enterprise to build a joint area named An Phu Lacue to grow lettuce in Lat Commune, Lac Duong District.
The working principle here is strict cultivation in accordance to the farming technique of Kawakami Mura. Fertilizers and plant protection products are not the same brands of the village, but components have to be similar. Any chemical used is to be precise according to instruction. The harvest and post-harvest preservation are paramount importance. Farmers have to crop lettuces from 3 to 6 am. After that, lettuces are preserved in cold storage until distributed to consumers. It is banned to harvest lettuces in hot weather or any other time of the day.
In early February 2014, An Phu Lacue Company tested 13 vegetables varieties on an area of 5000 square meters, of which the majority was still American lettuces. After 70 days, the first 3000 lettuces had been harvested and sent to Ho Chi Minh City supermarkets for offering. Mr. Takaya Hanaoca, the Director of An Phu Lacue said that if the model was successful then lettuces would be exported to Singapore and Japan. Each lettuce which An Phu Lacue sells supermarkets has the price of VND 20.000. The retail price distributed to consumers is VND 30.000.
As Mr. Takaya Hanaoca said, the Japanese are willing to transfer all techniques and farming processes to Dalat farmers. It is expected that there will be a program to bring Dalat farmers to Japan to study agricultural techniques in the near future.