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Bamboo, mangoes yield healthy profit for enterprising woman

At one time she didn't know anything about farming but Ms Souphaluck Phobubpha now grows bamboo and mangoes for sale and owns the Nakham bamboo garden in Vientiane province.

Ms Souphaluck has worked hard and fought to turn her life around. Every day she gets up early to tend to her trees.

In 2009, she paid 98 million kip to buy 14 hectares of land in the villages of Donsangphay and Nongkane in Pakngum district.

Ms Souphaluck Phobubpha. –Photos Khamphan

Then in 2010 she paid more than 100 million kip to buy 5,000 ducks, intending to sell their eggs, but the experiment was unsuccessful. She kept the ducks for a month but found that the cost of their feed was too high for her to make a profit from the venture.

At the time she was stuck for ideas and felt discouraged. She thought of selling her land but didn't want to give up on it entirely and felt she should put it to good use. After discussing various options with her family, she decided to plant bamboo which she planned to sell.

Not knowing how to grow bamboo, she looked for information online and also asked growers in Thailand for advice.

In 2013, she bought 500 saplings which she planted and after only two years was able to sell bamboo shoots. She was delighted to be finally earning an income. Today she grows 16 kinds of bamboo which enable her to sell both bamboo shoots and bamboo saplings.

She sells the bamboo shoots from February to May when the price is highest. They fetch 20,000 to 25,000 kip per kilogramme. She doesn't have to take the shoots to market because traders come to buy them from her directly.

Ms Souphaluck said lots of people are now interested in growing bamboo and she expects that the amount of bamboo shoots in the market will increase in the future. This means that over the next four or five years she must find new ways of ensuring she can sell those she grows herself.

After her success with bamboo she considered growing mango trees but faced the same problem as before in not knowing how to care for them. Again, she went online to get information and eventually bought a load of saplings which she planted out.

She now has 45 kinds of mango tree growing on her land which has boosted her income through the sale of the fruit and saplings.

She employs four workers to tend to the trees but needs to hire more if she wants to grow saplings for sale. People from several provinces come to buy bamboo and mango saplings from her.

Now that she has plenty of experience she gives advice to those who visit her orchard and want to know how to grow bamboo and mango trees successfully. She charges each person 8,000 kip and sometimes more than 100 people come to take lessons from her and learn the secrets of her success.

She uses animal manure rather than chemical fertiliser so that the bamboo shoots and mangoes are chemical free.

However, she is not content to rest on her laurels and says she's still not as successful as she would like to be. She's now dreaming up other ways to improve on what she has created and how things might be developed in the future.

She's thinking of opening the orchard to recreational visitors and maybe offering homestays so that people can spend some time in this relaxing environment.

Ms Souphalack says it's not difficult to work in agriculture if you are enthusiastic. She has certainly developed a passion for the work and intends to continue for as long as she enjoys it.


By Times Reporters
(Latest Update August 26 , 2017 )

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