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Heavy rains wreak havoc on garlic kingdom

Update: April, 07/2012 - 10:15

QUANG NGAI — Farmers on central Quang Ngai Province's Ly Son Island, known as the garlic kingdom, have suffered the worst crop ever due to torrential rains, the Ly Son Island District People's Committee said.

This year, farmers grew garlic over 290ha of land, but heavy rains during the past three months have ruined 80 per cent of the crops. Productivity is currently about 3,000-3,500 kilos per ha, reduced by half compared to last year, it said.

Ly Son garlic, a well-known local specialty, has been sold nation-wide for its special taste. Garlic crops are grown only one time per year, usually at the end of August.

"All the garlic was rotten. I've got nothing left this year," Vo Thi Mia, a farmer in An Hai Commune said.

Mia grows six sao (2,160 sq.m) of garlic. Last year, it brought her VND50 million ($2,400) in profit.

"It kept raining. We had to use nilon canvas to avoid too much water to reaching each bulb, but it was useless," she said.

Another farmer Vo Thanh Long was luckier in collecting 400kg of garlic, despite normally making two tonnes.

Apart from suffering from crop loss, farmers had to deal with fake products, Truong Nghia, chairman of the district's Garlic Manufacturing, Processing and Trading Association said.

"Some traders transport garlic grown in central Khanh Hoa Province's Ninh Hien District to the island and sell them under the name of Ly Son," he said.

District inspectors have kept examining products sold at the island's markets to find the fake ones. All of Ly Son's products were required to attach labelling. Last year, a trader was fined up to VND40 million ($1,920) for selling fake garlic, Nghia said.

Currently, farmers receive no support from the Government when they face poor crops, he said.

Vice Chairman of the People's Committee Pham Thi Huong has required border inspection stations to strengthen inspection on products transported from the mainland and fine those who use the Ly Son labelling for their products. — VNS

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