LÂM ĐỒNG — While everyone is talking about high-tech agriculture, K’Brooke decided to leave the city and return to his hometown to work the land with traditional methods.
K’Brooke, a 27-year-old man of the K’ho ethnic minority, is from Lăng Cú Village in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng.
He graduated from the Tây Nguyên University and found a stable job at a technology company, earning a salary of VNĐ10 million (US$430) per month.
He then joined a start-up competition held by the Business Studies and Assistance Centre. K’Brooke was the only K’ho to be chosen for the final round of the competition, together with six other projects made by people from different ethnic groups.
Brooke’s project is a model to raise black pigs. He got the idea for the project from the market’s demand for clean food, and also maintaining black pig – a special food of ethnic minorities.
The pigs are tamed from wild varieties by local people. They thus have high resistance to diseases and can reproduce stably even with poor nutrition.
Local residents raise the pigs, but often on small farms, and most of them let the pigs wander causing environmental pollution. Di Linh District authorities encourage farmers to raise the pigs collectively.
At the beginning of last year, K’Brooke founded a black pig farm with capital of VNĐ300 million ($13,000). The farm has five permanent staff and about 10 seasonal workers.
The farm is located in a coffee field in Sơn Điền Commune, which has a stream, wild bananas, bamboo and natural plants which can be used as food for the pigs. K’Brooke also gives them rice and maize mash.
While digging the soil to search for food, the pigs help make it softer, while their urine and dung nurture the coffee trees.
The farm of 45 black pigs bring K’Brooke profits of VNĐ143 million ($6,200) per year.
Besides black pigs, Brooke also raises goats and chickens.
“The goats do not eat mash, they only eat wild vegetables, thus I do not have to pay for any expenses,” said Brooke.
K’Brooke said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution would impact agriculture. So he determined to implement the agricultural revolution right in his coffee garden.
“For me, agriculture is life,” said K’Brooke.
Not only developing the farm, K’Brooke successfully sells agricultural products made by him and other local residents on a website.
Born in a K’ho village, traditional food is central in K’Brooke’ mind. He still remembers the soup cooked with wild vegetables by his grandmother, and the fish cooked with bamboo in the forest by him and his father.
“When culture brings profits, local residents will have enough strength to protect and maintain it,” he said.
Now local specialities are sold on K’Brooke’s website koho.vn and a Facebook page named Koho Food. The products include black pork, rice, honey, beans, wild vegetables and fabrics. All items are typical of K’ho culture.
K’Deo, 85, from Lăng Cú Village, said, “For old people like me, traditional food of the K’ho ethnic group is part of our blood. Although now there is lots of delicious food, K’ho people are still interested in traditional food.”
“Now K’Brooke helps me to sell my products, I have some money and I feel happier,” he said.
K’Brooke said confidently, “After many years of considering the idea, researching and preparing, I didn’t hesitate to start work on the model. There were lots of difficulties, but I gained lots of experience and knowledge. I think this way is the right way to do it.”
K’Brooke also offers advice to others who want to start their own agricultural models and support local specialities.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” said K’Brooke. — VNS