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Tra Vinh: Exotic grass variety banned

(16:00:48 PM 30/10/2012)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Many farmers in the southern province of Tra Vinh recently planted a species of grass that had not been tested in Vietnam yet. The local authorities have decided to seize the whole seeds and recommended farmers to not grow it.



The unknown grass.

A number of households in Dan Thanh commune, Duyen Hai district, Tra Vinh province, recently abandoned rice and vegetable crops to plant an exotic grass variety. This grass is unknown to the local authorities and scientists.

Mr. Nguyen Van Gioi, Chairman of Dan Thanh commune, said: "In Con Cu hamlet, nine households have the exotic grass seed. They planted 3 hectares of strange grass and harvested it already."

Mr. Le Van Quan, from Con Cu hamlet, said: "A few months ago, a Vietnamese in Taiwan who is working in Binh Duong gave me nearly 1.5 kg of grass seed for experimental planting. I sowed the seeds on 1,500 m2 of land." 

This grass is similar as reed. It grows by 2 to 2.5 m tall in two months. The seeds look like pepper. Unripe seeds are in red-purple color and they turn into red-brown then.

According to Quan, the trunk can be used as cattle feed, seeds can be kept for further planting or as feed for poultry and livestock. 

"If planting 1,000 m2 of grass, we can harvest 100kg of trunks and 300 kg of seed. Traders buy trunks for VND 30,000 per kilo, perhaps to sell to Taiwan to make brooms," Quan said.

After the first harvest, Quan supplied seeds for many households in the village. To encourage villagers to plant the grass, Quan was willing to lend VND600,000 ($30)/family to buy fertilizers and pesticide if they commit to plant more than 1,000m2 of grass.

Mr. Le Vu Phuong, head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Duyen Hai District, said: "We have taken grass samples to send to the provincial Department of Horticulture and Plant Protection."

Related to the exotic grass, on October 11, Tra Vinh Department of Horticulture and Plant Protection had a meeting with Dan Thanh authorities. After the meeting, Mr. Kim Xe, head of the Department of Horticulture and Plant Protection, said among 9 households in Dan Thanh that have the strange grass seeds, only 2 households have planted. The authorities seized a total of 13.5 kg of seeds of 7 households.

"We will send samples of this species to the Southern Institute of Science and Technology for testing. We have recommended people to not expand the area of exotic grass," Kim Xe said.

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