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Vinh Linh pepper is characterized by its aroma and spicy taste.

Quang Tri province currently has more than 2,500 hectares of pepper, of which 2,100 hectares are ready for harvest. Due to old-fashioned farming, the average output per hectare is about 1 ton, much lower than other places, while climate change is increasingly unpredictable and unfavorable. If timely measures are not taken, pepper growers will face many difficulties.

Realizing the situation, in recent years, the Quang Tri Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has promoted propaganda, advocacy and coordinated with localities to open technical training classes. At the same time, the agency has implemented support policies to help people grow and care for pepper according to organic and biosafety processes. In fact, this model has changed production thinking, resulting in greener pepper gardens, especially without diseases like before.

Vinh Linh mountainous district is the main pepper growing locality of Quang Tri province, accounting for 50% of the pepper area in the province. This is one of the main crops of Vinh Linh district, bringing main income to farmers.

With the advantage of soil conditions as well as farming experience, Vinh Linh pepper is characterized by its aroma and spicy taste, and is very popular in the market. Vinh Linh pepper has been granted a geographical indication certificate for Quang Tri pepper by the Department of Intellectual Property under Ministry of Science and Technology.

In order to improve the quality, competitiveness, and expand the market share of Vinh Linh pepper in the market, the Organic Pepper Production Project has been jointly organized by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vinh Linh district and the Vinh Linh Pepper Production Cooperative from February 2020.

Currently, the pepper area in Vinh Linh district reaches about 1,300 hectares, of which 1,100 hectares have been harvested. However, in recent years, the price of black pepper in general and in Vinh Linh district in particular has continuously decreased. The main cause is determined to be oversupply. Along with traditional black pepper products, Vinh Linh organic red pepper is now popular in the market.

Thanks to guaranteed quality, organic production and strict processing processes, Vinh Linh organic red pepper completely meets the increasing demand for clean products of consumers. Organic red pepper is available in many provinces and cities in the country. Red pepper has a very special flavor, spicy mixed with a little sweetness. Because it is ripe pepper, the flavor is more fragrant than black pepper. Red pepper is often used in dishes that require strong but less spicy pepper flavor or used for decoration.

Red pepper is a 4-star OCOP certified product.

Forming a key pepper growing area in Cam Lo

With suitable soil conditions for developing long-term industrial crops, Cam Chinh, Cam Nghia and Cam Thanh communes have long been planned and built into key pepper growing areas of Cam Lo district. The pepper growing area in Cam Lo district in the 1990s was sometimes over 900 hectares, of which the majority was owned by Tan Lam farm.

However, in the period from 2005 to 2010, many pepper areas were old, the exploitation cycle was over, pepper prices dropped, so people were not interested in investing in intensive farming and applied asynchronous farming methods, causing serious diseases.

The above factors caused the pepper growing area in the district to decrease sharply to about 300 hectares in 2010. Without active support from local authorities and relevant departments in terms of investment mechanisms and technical support, capital, product consumption... then the pepper area will certainly continue to decrease, and the reputation of pepper in the Cua area will no longer be mentioned in the near future.

In that situation, Cam Lo district organized many field trips to learn experience of growing pepper trees in many localities. After that, the district issued a Resolution to restore and plant 500 hectares of pepper in the period 2011 - 2015. Through the implementation of this project, pepper growers will apply solutions to improve productivity and limit epidemics and invest in intensive pepper cultivation in a sustainable and effective way.

Currently, Cua pepper has been recognized as a 4-star OCOP product at the provincial level, and has been granted a hazard analysis system certificate by the TQC Quality Testing and Certification Center under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations. Cua pepper products are sold at OCOP stores and post offices in some provinces and cities in the country.

It can be said that developing pepper in a sustainable direction is the right direction, which has changed production thinking, and is highly appreciated by people. However, due to the large investment in building the model, the province currently has only 200 hectares of this type of pepper.

To replicate the model, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will advise the Provincial People's Committee and utilize resources to support seeds, fertilizers, biological products, economical irrigation technology and technical training. On the other hand, local authorities and mass organizations need to further strengthen propaganda and mobilize people to implement the motto that the State and people work together as well as create conditions for households to borrow preferential loans.

PV