Japan-based Nikken Sekkei Civil Engineering Ltd. has begun talks with the administration of Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam to grow elephant garlic on its Ly Son Island.
Nikken has proposed developing the project in cooperation with CAN Holdings – a Japanese company specializing in hi-tech agriculture, Quang Ngai deputy chairman Dang Van Minh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Sunday.
Elephant garlic is a variant of the garden leek with a flavor similar to garlic but milder and considered much more palatable when eaten raw.
It is a high-yield and high-value crop praised for its various health benefits, including antimicrobial properties.
Around 4.5 metric tons of elephant garlic can be harvested per hectare of farmland.
Both Japanese companies said they would look to grow elephant garlic on Ly Son Island for export back to Japan, where the plant attracts a price of around VND180,000 (US$8) per kilogram.
CAN Holdings would also look to build a factory producing organic fertilizers from recycled waste on the island to use on its elephant garlic farms.
Last year, Nikken signed a contract with a Vietnamese construction group to consult on a VND17 billion ($749,000) plan to redevelop the island’s infrastructure.
Spanning nearly 10 square kilometers off the coast of Quang Ngai, Ly Son is known throughout Vietnam for its production of high-quality varieties of garlic, thanks largely to nutrients contained in ash left behind by its once-active volcanoes.
Since the turn of the 21st century, the island has also gradually developed its own tourist industry.