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Island farmers struggle to store bumper garlic crop

Update: February, 07/2013 - 00:00

QUANG NGAI (VNS)— Farmers on the central province of Quang Ngai's Ly Son Island were expecting a bumper winter-spring crop this year up to twice as large as in previous harvests.

However, they were facing storage and preservation difficulties, said the Ly Son Island District People's Committee.

Nguyen Van Le, head of the district's Economics Department, said the long sunny season had facilitated the growth of island garlic, and they were expecting a yield of 5,600 kilos per hectare.

Prices were also projected to top VND40,000 (US$1.9) per kilo, 250 per cent more than last year due to higher quality, he said.

Ly Son garlic is popular across the country for its unique flavour. Crops are harvested just once per year.

Once harvested, growers are dependent on sunny weather to dry their crops and preserve them in the process.

Vo Thanh Xuan, a farmer, said if it rained during harvest time the garlic would not get the 25 days under the sun that it needed to dry and would spoil.

Torrential rains have been forecast for next month.

Pham Thi Huong, deputy chairwoman of the district told Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that they had asked the province to provide financial support for a factory to process and preserve garlic so that it could stay fresh for a year or more.

For the time being, growers should prepare themselves to prevent heavy losses of garlic productivity and quality, she said. — VNS

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