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Vietnam’s vegetable granary will be Asian hub for green produce: Japanese officials

Saturday, August 09, 2014, 11:43 GMT+7

The Central Highlands city of Da Lat, renowned countrywide for its fresh and clean green produce, would become Asia’s vegetable hub if it establishes a comprehensive cooperation with Japan in producing agricultural products, two Japanese officials said Wednesday.

Da Lat has an incomparably huge opportunity to any other regional countries to become the “Asian vegetable hub,” Tadahiko Fujiwara, mayor of Kawakami village in Nagano, known for its high-quality lettuce production, remarked.

Tadahiko is in Vietnam with Yoshito Sengoku, member of the Democratic Party of Japan, to work with Lam Dong authorities and the An Phu Lacue, a Vietnamese – Japanese joint venture working on a project to set up a ‘miracle village’ in Da Lat.

With 1,735 hectares of agricultural land, Kawakami–Japan’s ‘miraculous village’–earns an annual income of US$150 million by sowing only American salad greens. Each household makes an average of $250,000 a year despite working for only four months out of the year.

The An Phu Lacue was set up to build a similar village in Vietnam, and Da Lat has been chosen as the prime location.

Under a comprehensive cooperation with Japan, after five years, Da Lat would account for 30 to 50 percent of the high-quality vegetables supply for the entire Asia, Yoshito said.

In the Southeast Asian region alone, the proportion could be much higher, he added.

Tadahiko said there are reasons for the Japanese officials to make such a firm statement.

“We have experience and technology, and you have fertile soil and favorable weather,” he explained.

The Japanese official said the East Asian country is committed to transferring the entire technology to increase productivity and quality of lettuce grown in Da Lat by three times, and incomes of farmers by 20 times.

There are three key factors to make such a miracle, according to Tadahiko.

“Discipline, technology, and young workforce–this is what we apply for Kawakami, and we will continue bringing them to Da Lat,” he said.

However, Yoshito, the politician, also noted that Da Lat should improve its infrastructure to be able to become the Asian vegetable hub.

“We will call on the Japanese government to grant ODA supports for agricultural infrastructure development in Da Lat,” he said.

Japan will also create conditions for laborers in Da Lat to work in Japan to gain experience, he added.

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