Flower growers go hi-tech
LAM DONG — Many farmers in Da Lat , know nas the City of Flowers, have switched to hi-tech floriculture in recent years, heralding a transformation of the agriculture sector in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
|Farmers tend to blooms in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat. Many local farmers have switched to hi-tech floricultural methods to reduce production costs and increase profits. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
The province now has a total of 3,800ha dedicated to hi-tech cultivation of flowers, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Nguyen Van Son, the department's deputy director, said most hi-tech farming areas in the province were located in traditional flower villages, particularly in Da Lat, the provincial capital.
The application of advanced technology had resulted in higher productivity and value than traditional cultivation, he said.
With hi-tech floriculture, farmers grow flowers in greenhouses with automatic irrigation systems.
Hi-tech farming brought in average annual revenues of between VND800 million (US$38,000) and VND 1billion ($47,600) per ha, 1.6 times the earnings from traditional cultivation, Son said.
Vu Thuan, who has planted chrysanthemums in a 6,000sq.m greenhouse in Ha Dong Flower Village in Da Lat City's Ward 8 for several years, earns around VND180 million ($8,570) per 1,000sq.m.
Thuan said after deducting all production costs, he earned a profit of VND90-100 million ($4,290-4,760) per 1,000sq.m.
The village has more than 400 households growing flowers on a total area of 50ha. Of this figure, 30ha are planted in greenhouses.
Similarly, most farmers in Thai Phien Village in Da Lat's Ward 12 are growing flowers in greenhouses with automatic irrigation systems.
Nguyen Dinh Huong, deputy chairman of the Ward 12 People's Committee, said Thai Phien had a total agricultural land of 430ha, of which 300ha are being used to grow flowers in greenhouses.
Thai Phien now produced about 300 million blossoms a year, he said. Van Thanh Village in Da Lat City's Ward 5 is famous for growing roses.
Tran Thi Kim Thuy, owner of the Hoa-Thuy Flower Shop in Ward 5, said the application of hi-tech farming had improved villagers' lives.
Thuy said her family had 3,000sq.m of land devoted to rose cultivation and earned an annual profit of no less than VND40 million ($1,900) per 1,000sq.m.
The application of hi-tech farming had been a breakthrough in agricultural production, bringing about far-reaching changes in rural areas as well as the lives of farmers in Lam Dong, said Pham S, deputy chairman of the provincial People's Committee.
The average revenue from agriculture production in Lam Dong had increased from VND27 million ($1,290) per ha in 2003 to VND80 million ($3,800) at present, he said.
Hi-tech farming occupied just 3 per cent of the province's total agricultural area, but it accounted for 18-20 per cent of the total production value of the agriculture sector, he said.
Lam Dong began a programme to promote hi-tech agriculture in the province in 2004, focusing in particular on floriculture in Da Lat City and other key localities.
Previously, a few companies and households were the only ones applying hi-tech floriculture in Lam Dong, but this number has increased exponentially in the last seven to eight years.
Lam Dong flowers are exported not only to neighbouring countries and territories but also to the EU and North America.
Last year, 165 million blossoms worth a total of $18 million were exported from the province. These included roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, cymbidium orchids and gerberas. — VNS