|Thousands of peach blossom trees in Đông Sơn Commune, Tam Hiệp District have died after flooding. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức|
NINH BÌNH — Floodwater from recent typhoons have damaged thousands of one-to-four-year-old peach blossom trees in Tam Điệp City in Đông Sơn Commune in the northern province of Ninh Bình.
The trees were being prepared for the Tết (Lunar New Year) festival which falls in mid-February, but have wilted and died, creating big losses for local farmers.
There is a large area of peach-blossom trees in Tam Điệp City. This is the time of year when farmers enthusiastically get ready for the Tết holiday. However, the trees were submerged in flood water for a week last month, destroying 43ha out of 150ha.
Phạm Đình Thạo, a farmer in Village No 7, said that this year his family planted more than 130 peach blossom trees.
Before the typhoon, the trees grew well and maintained beautiful postures which were expected to bring high profits, he said.
But during the typhoons, more than 100 trees died, and the remainder are starting to wilt.
Thạo’s family estimates it lost hundreds of millions of đồng (VNĐ100 million equals US$4,400).
Another grower, Ninh Văn Mạnh, a senior planter in the commune, said peach-blossom trees were very dependent on climate, so they were easily affected in the typhoons.
More than 50 trees of Mạnh’s family were submerged.
To limit losses, Mạnh’s family is putting great effort into caring for the remaining trees.
According to preliminary statistics of the Đông Sơn Commune People’s Committee, more than 4,000 peach blossom trees died since last month.
Chairman of the commune Farmers’ Association, Lê Văn Sỹ, said peach-blossom trees were a famous product of the commune.
Sỹ said that in the short term, local authorities and the association advised farmers to replace the dead trees with new ones.
They also suggested that farmers should dig drainage ditches and earth-up the trees more to cope with the abnormal weather.
With the remainder of the trees, Sỹ said farmers should give them more fertiliser so they would develop roots.
As well as destroying peach blossom trees, the prolonged typhoon last month also caused serious landslides in Tam Điệp City, affecting more than 30 households.
Phạm Đình Cư, chairman of the Đông Sơn Commune People’s Committee, said that in the past, peach blossom trees had been the most valuable plant in the commune. On average, local farmers sell 4,000-10,000 trees per year at prices of at least VNĐ300,000 ($13) per tree. The trees are sold in nearby provinces and cities such as Hà Nội, Nghệ An, Thanh Hóa and Nam Định.
Last year, the total income from selling peach blossom trees in the commune reached VNĐ10 billion ($444,400).
The trees create work for nearly 800 households with nearly 1,000 people in the commune.
Head of the Tam Điệp City Economy Division, Đinh Huy Hiệu, said that to develop the tree industry, since 2015, city authorities had supported local farmers with capital and technical guidance. — VNS