DA LAT — Many farmers in Da Lat in the Central Highlands, the country's largest artichoke cultivation area, have switched to other crops as the prices for artichokes has dropped.
|Farmers take care of their daisy garden in Da Lat City. Many locals have switched artichoke cultivation to flowers due to a drop in prices. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
Farmer Hoang Thi Phuong in Ward 12 said she earned a profit of VND50 million (US$2,300) from 1,000sq.m of artichoke in last year's crop but, only VND30 million from this year's crop.
"Other farmers and myself have to set up green houses to plant chrysanthemums, which can provide a profit of VND70 million per 1,000sq.m," she said.
Nguyen Thi Thu Nguyet, chairwoman of the Ward 12 People's Committee, said her ward had 170 families planting 50ha of artichoke last year.
"This year, the artichoke cultivation area has been reduced by 10ha because many families have switched to growing flowers," she said.
The price of artichokes has declined by 30 per cent against last year.
Ward 12 used to have up to 80ha of artichoke in 2005, accounting for 80 per cent of Da Lat's total artichoke area.
Farmer Hoang Thoi in Ward 12, who had planted artichoke for 20 years, is now growing flowers.
"Artichoke cultivation requires a lot of tending. The cost of fertiliser, pesticide and labour have increased while the price has dropped," he said.
Over the past three years, the price of artichoke has fallen continuously and the profit of planting 1,000sq.m of artichoke was about VND17-20 million, he said.
Ho Ngoc Dinh, chairman of the Ward 12 Farmers Association, said that profits from artichokes were insufficient for farmers to cover their costs, while profits from planting flowers were two to three times higher than that of artichokes.
"If the current price of artichoke continues for a long time, no one would plant artichokes within the next two or three years," he said.
Some farmers continue to plant artichokes because they lack capital and have no electricity in their gardens, both of which are necesssary for planting flowers.
Similarly, Ward 11 has nearly 100 families planting 15ha of artichokes, and this area is expected to decline by 30 per cent in the next crop because of low prices, according to the Ward 11 Farmers Association.
In Viet Nam, artichokes are grown only in Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and in Sa Pa in the northern province of Lao Cai.
Artichokes are used as a food and are part of the Health Ministry's pharmaceutical-product use. — VNS