Students help sell the turnips at the gate of the Thống Nhất Park, on Lê Duẩn Street. – Photo dantri.com.vn
by Thu Trang
HÀ NỘI – Nguyễn Ngọc Hoàng is a man on a mission. He turns up at university to study two days of the week but the rest of the time he goes somewhere else - at the farm to help sell turnips.
He is one of a number of volunteers who give up their spare time to help farmers sell their vegetables.
This was because after over farming, many were left with too many turnips and not enough customers.
So moved after hearing the plight of farmers in Tráng Việt Commune, Mê Linh District in Hà Nội, Hoàng decided to do something about it.
Hoàng, a Hà Nội University of Technology student, has spent the past 10 days volunteering at the Thống Nhất Park because he knows farmers have been unable to sell 140ha of their produce after harvesting.
Many vegetables will be thrown away, but not if Hoàng has anything to do with it. And he found out about the sale thanks to a modern twist – Facebook.
“The information was shared on Facebook, and said local farmers needed help to bring the turnips to several places in inner Hà Nội for sale, so I decided to go there to join,” said Hoàng.
Hoàng helps sell the turnips at the gate of the Thống Nhất Park, on Lê Duẩn Street, from 7am to 6.30pm.
And he’s not the only one offering a helping hand.
There are several places on Trần Nhân Tông and Trần Hưng Đạo streets, plus Cầu Giấy Road, where sellers are volunteers.
The turnips are sold at VNĐ25,000 (US$1.1) per five-kilo bag.
Hoàng can sell about 10 tonnes of turnips per day.
Nguyễn Thúy Vân, a journalist of the Nhân Dân (The People) newspaper, launched the helping programme.
Once Vân went to Mê Linh District on business, and knew that local farmers could not sell their turnips, she decided to post on her Facebook to call for some help.
The turnips were planted with Japanese seeds, and under Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP).
“To my surprise, many people encourage me, so I connect with local farmers to help them bring the turnips to inner Hà Nội for sale,” said Vân.
After only several hours, thousands of orders were sent to Vân’s Facebook.
Not only individuals, but also organisations, schools, pagodas and companies ordered the turnips in great amount.
“My happiness is multiplied when many students and State workers met me and proposed to be volunteers to sell the turnips,” Vân said.
Many people do not fear long distance and determine to go and support the farmers.
Nguyễn Văn Cử, a war invalid, took a bus early morning from his house in Hà Đông District, a suburban district of Hà Nội, to the Thống Nhất Park to buy turnips.
He bought dozens of kilogrammes of turnips.
“I use my little invalid’s allowance to buy the turnips, just want to contribute a part in helping the farmers,” Cử said.
He intends to share the turnips, and also the programme information to his relatives, friends and neighbours.
The programme also receives encouragement from local authorities and security forces.
Nguyễn Mạnh Duy, a local security guard, who often goes on patrol on Lê Duẩn Road, said that he found the programme very humanitarian.
“I help keep public order in the area and remind them about keeping traffic safety because many people come here to buy the turnips,” he said.
Duy himself also encourages his family and colleagues to join the effort easing the farmers’ hardship. – VNS