|A farmer harvest garlic in Ly Son Island District in Quang Ngai Province. Farms on Ly Son Island have had a poor garlic harvest this year because of disease and inclement weather. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HCM CITY (VNS)— Farms on Ly Son Island District in Quang Ngai Province have had a poor garlic harvest this year because of disease and inclement weather.
Farmer Duong Hien in An Hai Commune said his 2,000 sq.m of garlic fields had a yield of only more than 500 kilos this year compared to nearly two tonnes every year.
But most of the harvested garlic was spoiled or looked deformed, he said.
The district farmers said that diseases and brown planthoppers had affected the plants as they began sprouting garlic bulbs, resulting in poor quality and a low harvest.
Tran Thi Dai, who owns 500 sq metres of garlic fields in An Vinh Commune, said she could not harvest any seed garlic to cultivate the next crop.
"The large garlic cracked and the small garlic could not be used for cultivation," she said.
The poor quality also caused a drop in price at a time when farmers had spent a great deal of money on their fields.
The production cost for every 1,000 sq.m of garlic field, including buying sand, seeds and fertiliser, and pumping irrigation water, was VND10 million (USVND10,056,825), according to farmers.
Traders and companies have also faced difficulties in finding garlic to buy.
Nguyen Van Dinh, director of the Ly Son Island Co., Ltd, which buys garlic directly from farmers and sells to supermarkets and other countries, said his company could not buy enough quality garlic to supply partners.
Dinh said his company bought fresh garlic at the fields, but no field had met required standards as most garlic bulbs had cracks or were too small.
"My company has signed a contract with a partner from the US, but I don't know how to get enough garlic to supply the partner," he said.
Ly Son garlic has a distinctive flavour, more delicious than other kinds of garlic, and is in high demand at home and abroad.
The district planted 325ha of garlic with a total yield of about 3,000 tonnes this year, down 43 per cent against last year, according to the district's Rural Infrastructure and Economy Bureau.
Most of the harvested garlic did not meet required standards, according to the bureau.
Nguyen Thanh, chairman of the Ly Son People's Committee, said the prolonged hot weather had attracted brown planthoppers, which carry disease. Other diseases also affected the plants.
The district's agencies gave advice to farmers on how to treat the disease-infected garlic, but farmers still could not save the garlic, he said.
Most farmers in Ly Son use traditional farming methods for garlic cultivation, which covers one-third of the district's total area.
Garlic cultivation and fishing are two major livelihoods of Ly Son residents. — VNS