Farmers in Duy Tiên District in the northern province of Hà Nam are busy these days harvesting lotus seeds. The locality hosts the largest area of lotus in the north with 28ha in Chuyên Ngoại, Mộc Nam and Mộc Bắc communes.
In the past five years, the whole area for planting rice in Chuyên Ngoại Commune has been used for lotus as the profit from lotus is five to seven times higher than from rice.
Farmers combine planting lotus with raising shrimp and fish.
Lotus seeds can be used as food in sweetened lotus seeds, salt lotus seed porridge and sweetened lotus porridge.
Lotus seeds have various good effects for health like moderating cholesterol in the blood and treating fatty liver disease
Nguyễn Thị Thu, 38, a local, said her family has 36,000sq.m of lotus. She nurtures lotus seedlings at the end of lunar second month of the year and plants the seedlings in the middle of the fifth lunar month.
“It rained less this year so there are many empty seeds, which affects overall productivity,” she said.
Each harvest season her family may gather up to 100kg of lotus seeds.
Farmers use knives to separate seeds from lotus pods (sepal of the lotus flower). Each person can work on up to 40kg of lotus pods a day.
Wholesale buyers gather lotus seed on the site to bring to Hà Nội and other localities to sell.
Nguyễn Kim Liên, a wholesaler, said 1kg of fresh lotus seeds, after peeling and removing the green sprout in the middle, offers 500 grams of pure seeds.
“To preserve the white seeds, people should cover the seeds with some paper and put in the fridge to use for a long time,” she said.
The green sprout in the middle of the seed has long been used in Eastern medicine to treat loss of sleep, sunstroke and to cool down the body. VNS