“Five years ago, on a trip to Japan, I learned how Japanese farmers create the most expensive bunch of Roman Ruby grapes in the world, I saw with my own eyes how a mango orchard buds was cared for, the strict methods and standards… Every fruit that is created there is truly a miracle.Two years later, in Vietnam, I spent 11 million VND ($500) to buy a bunch of Roman grapes Ruby and 3 million VND to buy a pair of egg mangoes wrapped and wrapped in a beautiful box,” said Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Kim Anh from Tay Ho District, Hanoi.
She said she spent a lot of money buying these fruits to eat because of the quality and production. She opened two high-end Japanese fruit stores in Hanoi.
Japanese farmers with the world’s number 1 fruit
Japan has no advantage in agriculture, for lack of agricultural land. There were only 1.3 million farm households in 2019 and more than 65% of farmers were over 60 years old. However, on average, each Japanese farmer exports agricultural products worth US$40,000 annually, compared to only US$1,000 for Vietnamese farmers.
The Japanese not only apply digital technology to agricultural production, but they also know how to tell the story of their journey to create special fruits for the world.
In the Vietnamese market, Japanese apples have been a popular product in recent years, although the price ranges from 1.5-2 million VND ($70-90)/kg. In addition to the high price, consumers remember the story of farmer Kimura who spent 10 years creating a magic apple variety for Japan.
The story is set decades ago when Kimura decided to return to Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture to get married and become an apple farmer to continue the family business. The Iwaki area at that time grew apples, but farming techniques in Japan still relied heavily on pesticides. Kimura’s four apple orchards are also bearing fruit thanks to regular pesticide spraying. Apples from the Iwaki area tasted the same.
However, his wife’s health was not good and she became sensitive to pesticides. Out of love for his wife, he abandoned the old farming method. But without pesticide spraying, the apple trees would not flower or bear fruit.
After many years of trying various planting methods, the Japanese farmer realized that the problem was not the disease but the soil, the relationship with nature, the insects and animals living in the surroundings and the water source. Apples must have a close relationship with nature – an ecosystem for them to thrive and grow successfully. He experimented with a variety of soils for several years, carefully studying insects at the local library.
After eight years of hard work with the new method, one of his more than 400 apple trees blossomed and then produced two fruits in the fall. The two apples stood like a miracle in the arid and depleted garden for decades. Mr Kimura called them two “miracle apples”.
The following season, the apple trees bloomed white all over the garden. He no longer feared insect damage when the garden returned to a natural balance. The methods he used did not disturb the order of nature because they are plant-safe probiotics.
A perfect process was born. In the spring, when the apple trees bloom, he manually removes the individual blossoms and leaves only a few of the best blooms for pollination. When the apple tree bears green fruit, it continues to prune the fruit and leaves only one fruit per branch. In late fall and early winter, the apples begin to ripen evenly red, with a big round bottom, meeting harvest standards.
With the cultivation method, Mr. Kimura’s apples changed Japanese agriculture, especially apple growing. The apples he planted can be stored for a long time without withering, with a sweet fragrance and beautiful colors. The “miracle” apples are acclaimed by politicians and celebrities, and are served as dessert in Tokyo’s luxury restaurants, where you have to book a table a year in advance to have a chance to enjoy them.
Apples have also become the number one fruit that Japan exports to the world and brings high income to farmers.
However, in Japan, there is not only the story of the miracle apple, but also stories of the Roman ruby grape variety, the peony grape variety, the watermelon, or the egg-sun mango… Each fruit has its own flavor, a different story associated with the land, the people and the strict planting and harvesting processes.
These stories are passed on to consumers who then enjoy this achievement. For this reason, there are still fruit auctions every year in Japan. Some people are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy two mangoes, a pair of melons, or a bunch of grapes.
In high-end fruit shops in Vietnam, Japanese fruits are always an expensive item, most of which cost millions or even tens of millions of VND, but customers are still queuing up to buy.
Vietnamese farmers plant trees and learn to tell stories
Unlike Japan, Vietnam is a country with assets in terms of agricultural development with large fruit areas. However, when Vietnam sells its products to the world, it only has a large production. It forgets to tell the story of the culture, history and agricultural process of the land where the products are born.
With many years of experience in retailing and distributing Vietnamese fruits and vegetables, Paul Le – vice president of Central Retail Group – said the good thing about Vietnamese fruits and vegetables is that farmers are very active in planting delicious and safe products. However, they have to build a “story” for each product of the land, the way of growing and the love for their products, then consumers will believe it.
He said Vietnam has a cultural tradition with more than 4,000 years of history, and the land and climate are advantages for farmers to create the most delicious agricultural products in the world. Like Vietnamese lychees, he thinks it is the most delicious fruit compared to similar products from other countries. Dragon fruit, mango, pomelo and durian will have many opportunities and will be able to compete with the products of the world.
“However, these products from Vietnam must have an introductory story about how delicious they are, and from what land, and how the process is done for domestic consumers so that the whole world can know about it,” he said. -he declares.
Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung once shared that the product of each piece of land should have its own brand, origin and not be counterfeited. For example, the value of a banana includes the value of the sun and wind in that area, the land there, the variety of banana, the caregiver, and how each family cultivates the banana trees.
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