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VN farmers destroy coffees plants for sacha inchi

Farmers in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai are destroying their coffee plantations to grow sacha inchi plants believing they will gain better returns.

VN farmers destroy coffees plants for sacha inchi

Vot takes care of the sacha inchi plants

Sacha inchi is a perennial plant. The seeds of inchi have high protein and oil content and vitamin A and E. The oil is considered even better than the olive oil. It will grow in warm weather, even under 40C.

People believe that even after 30 years, they can still earn VND800,000 per kilo from the same plants. As a result, farmers have destroyed their coffee plants. Other farmers have planted sacha inchi next to the coffee trees even though it's a climbing plant.

Vot, head of Brep Village, said 20 out of 119 households had planted sacha inchi. Most people don't really know what sacha inchi could be used for but heard that it would bring back high profits. "I don't know how it will look like when ripe but everyone said it could be harvested in four months. Now five months have passed and I'm worried because no traders have come," he said.

Dinh, a farmer in T'leo Village, said they destroyed 800 coffee plants to plant a kilo of sacha inchi seeds. If the revenue is high, they will completely replace their coffee cultivation with sacha inchi.

Sacha inchi seeds are being sold at VND550,000 per kilo, equivalent to about 600 seeds. Hung, a sachi inchi seed trader said the seeds could be planted in all types of soil. "There are days we sold 1,000 sacha inchi plants that are 12 centimetres high. In four months, we sold 9,000 plants and 30 kilos of seeds in Dak Hoa and Mang Yang districts," he said.

According to Hung, he knew about the sacha inchi because his ethnic minority customers were seeking for it and willing to pay tens of thousands of VND for a plant.

Truong Duy Loc, vice chairman of K'Dang Commune, said they had only known about the plants recently and were surveying how many households had planted it. He also said since sacha inchi wasn't on the list of trees that attribute to local economic development, farmers might find it difficult to find an outlet.

Le Tuan Hung, vice head of Dak Doa District Agriculture Office, said they still hadn't received information about sacha inchi and there was no processing facilities for such tree in the area. They are still waiting for reports from the communes.

Tran Thi Viet Bac, a local in Phu Thien District recently denounced Hoang Linh Xu Nghe Company in June. Bac said she signed a contract to plant sacha inchi but the seeds given to them were of low quality. 

She hasn't been paid the agreed advance payment. Bac said Hoang Linh Xu Nghe Company had tricked them into buying sacha inchi seeds.