|A farmer takes care of his tra hoa vang plant. Farmers in Quang Ninh Province are worried about its unsustainable development. — Photo dogo24h.com
QUANG NINH (VNS) — Despite the fact that tra hoa vang (Camellia Chrysantha) has high economic value, farmers in the northern province of Quang Ninh's Ba Che District are worried about unsustainable development.
Nguyen Cong Quyen, deputy chairman of district's People's Committee, said tra hoa vang was planted not only in the district but also in other provinces like Lam Dong, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai and Ninh Binh.
While local farmers were waiting for official affirmation on its value, most of the products were exported to China so the price largely depended on Chinese traders.
He emphasised the need for more assistance from scientists and authorised agencies to ensure sustainable development for this plant.
Tra hoa vang is not only an ornamental plant but also precious pharmaceutical material, Quyen said.
Studies on the plant have showed that its flowers and leaves consist of more than 400 chemical compounds including Saponin, Tea polyphenols; ingredients like Selenium, Germanium and other vitamins. It aids in treating high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hypertension, and stimulates immune functions.
According to Ninh Van Trang, hailing from Ba Che District's Dap Thanh Commune, one of the pioneers in preserving and cultivating tra hoa vang, the plant grew naturally in mountainous areas of the district. Local residents found its leaves could be used as herbal medicine which helped them sleep and increased their appetite.
Chinese traders started buying flowers, leaves and trees in 2006, he said.
In 2006, traders bought the plant for VND15,000 (US$0.6) per kilogram of fresh flower. Two years later the price increased to VND2 million (US$89) per kilogram due to scarcity.
Local people rushed to pick the flowers and even sold the trees whole as Chinese traders bought the plants in large quantities.
Recognising that the plant was on the verge of extinction, Trang and a number of households started to collect seedlings from forests and have cultivated the plant since 2009.
Trang's family has 4ha of tra hoa vang and have an income of about VND500 million (US$22,300) a year.
Although it took 4 years for the plant to be ready for harvest, the plant proved profitable. The price of fresh flowers was between VND1.3-1.5 million (US$57-66) per kilogram, with dried flowers worth about VND15 million (US$669) per kilogram.
Recognising the plant as one of the district's key products, local authorities planned to grow a total of 500ha of tra hoa vang.
A festival will be held this Sunday in the northern province of Quang Ninh' Ba Che district to promote the tree's value as well as the locality's potential, said Quyen. — VNS