|Moth orchids being grown in a net house in Đà Lạt. The city’s farmers are worried since the flowers are blooming well ahead of Tết and they can now get only a fraction of the prices they can during the festival. — VNA/VNS Photo Đặng Tuấn
LÂM ĐỒNG — The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Lâm Đồng expects to harvest 1.4 billion stems of flowers for selling during Tết (Lunar New Year), 3.9 per cent up from last year.
Farmers began harvesting on January 14, according to the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the festival falls on February 1.
The province, one of the country’s largest flower producers, grows them mostly in Đà Lạt City and the districts of Đơn Dương, Đức Trọng, Lạc Dương, and Lâm Hà.
Flowers like chrysanthemum, lily, gerbera daisy, and orchids are grown on larger areas this year while the department has imported nearly 10 million seedlings and seeds of various flowers.
Of the imports, lily accounts for four million while the rest is made up predominantly of flamingo, tulip, moth orchid, and lisianthus.
Flower farmers are busy tending and preparing to harvest their flowers next week.
To help them sell, the department is working with other government agencies and companies to make transportation plans.
It has strengthened provision of market information to farmers and assistance to them to develop linkages with companies to grow flowers under value chains to ensure they have steady demand and prices.
Early blooming worry
Farmers in Đà Lạt are worried about the early blossoming of 70 per cent of their moth orchids.
Farmers have to sell them now at a fraction of the prices they will fetch during the festival.
Đặng Văn Hưng, who owns a moth orchid farm in Đà Lạt’s Xuân Trường Commune, said the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a decline in the flower’s prices.
But the prices of inputs had all increased, he said.
Some 70-80 per cent of his moth orchids were blooming and he had to sell them at VNĐ40,000-45,000 ($1.8-2) a stem, he said.
In previous years they used to fetch VNĐ90,000-100,000 ($4-4.4) if they blossomed well before Tết.
During the Lunar New Year they usually sell at VNĐ300,000-700,000 ($13-30).
To prevent the early blooming, farmers take various measures to slow down the growth of flower buds such as using black nets to keep out sunlight from the plant, reducing irrigation and using net bags to tightly cover the buds.
Đà Lạt’s moth orchids are preferred by consumers nation-wide since their beautiful colours mean they can be used to decorate houses.
Because of the high input and labour costs in recent months farmers estimate production costs to be 10 per cent higher than last year.
Nguyễn Đức Cứ, head of the Đà Lạt Economic Bureau, said the impact of the pandemic had caused farmers to reduce the area under flowers by 30 per cent this time to 800ha. — VNS