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Residents insist on harvesting rubber trees despite warnings

Update: November, 08/2013 - 09:17

As many as 21,000 out of 82,000 hectares of rubber forests in the northern central region collapsed in storms Wutip and Nari, causing major damages and plunging many households deep into debt.— Photo baoquangtri

QUANG TRI (VNS) — Despite increasingly dire warnings that growing rubber trees in the central region is a risky proposition, local farmers still insist on cultivating the crop.

"Rubber is a tropical tree that is very vulnerable to typhoons and cold weather. Therefore, it's too risky to grow the plants in the northern central region, where most typhoons end up," said Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

As many as 21,000 out of 82,000 hectares of rubber forests in the northern central region collapsed in storms Wutip and Nari, causing major damages and plunging many households deep into debt.

However, local residents still rushed to grow rubber trees because the plants could help them reduce poverty and eliminate hunger, according to Doanh.

"I will continue growing rubber trees because no other crop has more economic efficiency," said Nguyen Nhu Du, a farmer in central Quang Tri Province's Vinh Linh District, which suffered the most severe losses in the recent storms.

By focusing only on expanding rubber forests, farmers like Du were making a mistake, Director Nguyen Van Bai of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department in Quang Tri Province told Nhan Dan (The People) newspaper.

He advised them to place trees in areas sheltered from the wind and to plant windbreaks, dense trees or shrubs that protect the rubber trees from excessive wind.

Agriculture and Rural Development departments in storm-affected localities plan to ask People's Committees to draw on local budgets to help residents recover, said participants at a recent seminar.

During the seminar, Bai said that local authorities would support residents to diversify their crops, while farmers in attendance expressed hope that the Government would support them to continue growing rubber trees. — VNS

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