Trang Dinh district raises awareness among “thach den” growers
(LSO) – Trang Dinh district in northern Lang Son province has been striving to produce high-quality grass jelly – made from a local plant named “thach den” (platostoma palustre) – for export. Lang Son Newspaper’s reporter interviewed local people and businesspeople to learn what they would recommend to achieve this.
Hoang Van Can, Secretary of Kim Dong commune’s Party Committee: “The district must raise people’s awareness of how to cultivate and preserve “thach den” in a way that meets food safety and hygiene.”
Kim Dong commune has over 120 hectares of thach den. Most of the local residents cultivate and preserve thach den in a traditional method which still involves the usage of herbicides and pesticides. To meet increasingly choosy demand of the market, people should change that traditional way. The commune has cooperated with the district’s specialised agencies to open training courses on how to properly grow thach den for the local people and requested public organisations, local officials such as agri-forestry officials, veterinarians, agricultural promotion officals and village heads to educate farmers and how they cultivate and preserve the plant. The commune has also been piloting the safe production of thach den on a total of two hectares of land in four villages which will allow the farmers to learn about new method. The pilot project will be scaled up across the commune in the future.
Chu Van Bay in Dau Linh hamlet, Chi Lang commune: “We have chosen healthy, disease-resistant varieties of thach den and applied clean production process.”
My family grew over 1,000sqm of thach den in the last spring crop. To prevent pests, I paid more attention to selecting healthy and disease-resistant seedlings to plant. At the same time, I covered furrows with straw to ensure the grass would not grow over the thach den trees. It would not only avoid pests and diseases but also enable me to not use any herbicides nor pesticides that may effect the quality of the plant. Additionally, during the harvest, I put plastic tarps on the field to place the harvested thach den on. This way would allow thach den to not mix with earth. Therefore, my family’s thach den has been very popular among wholesale traders.
Ha Thai Son, manager of a thach den processing workshop in Khuoi So hamlet, Kim Dong commune: “We have signed contracts with growers to ensure clean production.”
Our company has purchased thach den and made it jelly powder before exporting it to foreign markets like China, India, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
To ensure the quality of thach den, our company has signed contracts with growers that require them to comply with several rules. They must ensure no herbicide and pesticide residues nor preservatives left in thach den leaves, the leaves must be clean without earth or other grasses. Before being purchased, samples of the plant will be taken for test for pesticide and preservative residues. In fact, such requirements have forced farmers to change their cultivating and preserving methods to meet the market demand./.