24/09/2009 | 15:38:00

Planting flowers in Ha Noi

Fresh flowers constitute a special agricultural product that enriches the spiritual life of Hanoi inhabitants. Many places related to flowers and plants have become a pride of Hanoi, like Ngoc Ha flowers, Nhat Tan peach plants, Tu Lien kumquat trees, Nghi Tam ornament plants... Nowadays, Hanoi has more new flower villages, such as Phu Thuong (Tay Ho district), Tay Tuu (Tu Liem district), Vinh Tuy (Thanh Tri district) and Dong Anh township.

With numerous advantages in terms of market access and expansion possibility both domestically and abroad, the volume of sold flowers is increasing. Flowers are now not concentrated in two main points -- Quang Ba and Hang Luoc markets, as before. The city has set up a large system of shops and retailers. Quantitatively, the number of shops is similar to that of flower vendors, but qualitatively, there is an apparent difference. While 80% of good-quality flowers are sold in the shops; vendors sell the other 20% of more "common" flowers.

In the recent time, if the income from rice farming has stabilized at the level of 40-45 million VND per hectare, the income from flowers has recorded an evident increase. In 1997, the income from flowers of Tu Liem district was 141 million VND per hectare and Tay Ho district -- 90 million VND. It is the Tu Liem district that has the highest growth of income from flowers compared to the other districts of Hanoi. Consequently, the flower-planting area of Hanoi rose rapidly in some past years, from 92 ha in 1990 to over 500 ha in 1999. Nevertheless, like other professions, the flower-planting profession has not avoided the harsh laws of the market economy. Due to the urbanization and the rapidly increasing population, the flower-planting area in urban districts strongly reduces. In Tay Ho district, the flower-planting area decreases by 20%. In some traditional flower villages like Ngoc Ha, Huu Tiep, the flower-planting area remains only 0.4 ha, scattered in some gardens. Meanwhile, the flower-planting area in the suburb districts tends to increase: in Tu Liem district it has increased by 22 times, Thanh Tri - by 1.5 times and Dong Anh - by 33 times. That shows an effective structural transformation. Although the production and area of flowers in Hanoi is higher than in other localities, the labor engaged in planting flower is still rather small, accounting only for 9% of the total agriculture-based labor force. In the whole city, the rate of labor engaged in flower-based trade increased from 1.55% in 1990 to 1.75% in 1997. This movement in labor force is different among districts. While the labor engaged in flower planting of Tu Liem district increased gradually from 0.21% in 1990 to 6.60% in 1997, in Tay Ho district, this rate was 21.7% in 1997, decreased by 3.37% compared to the 1990's figure and by 11.53% compared to the 1995's figure. With regard to the ratio labor/area, it is, however, clear that Hanoi flower producers take now care of an increasingly larger area: from 689 m2 per laborer in 1990 to 811 m2 per laborer in 1997. This justifies a fact that the flower-cultivating profession of Hanoi has more and more higher standards, and follows an approach of intensive production. On the other hand, there is, however, a danger that now in Hanoi skilled planters of flowers, to a level of artists, are disappearing due to their age and due to the fact that the traditional flower villages are disappearing. People who want to continue in the profession have now to hire land areas in suburbs for cultivating flowers and ornament trees.

In the past, Hanoi inhabitants used to know much only about roses and some varieties of seasonal flowers like dahlia, violet and flowers used in celebrations and holidays, including Tet. Recently, many new original varieties of colorful flower have been imported, such as white chrysanthemum CN93, yellow chrysanthemum, Taiwan yellow chrysanthemum, Dutch chrysanthemum... The flower varieties are changed continuously because of degeneration and insects. This fact negatively affects the development of flower-planting profession in Hanoi, and limits the capabilities of satisfying an increasingly higher demand on flowers of local and foreign markets. Moreover, the flower breeding techniques in our country seem to be still obsolete, both in terms of size and quality of flowers. Especially, the uni-sex varieties, such as roses, lily, pink, peony, etc. prove to give bad-quality flowers. Besides, there are difficulties with fertilizer for flowers. In order to get a high production and good quality of flowers, it is necessary to use fertilizer rightly in terms of type, dosage, density of fertilizer and time of application.

The flower market of Hanoi changes everyday. The demand on flowers rises suddenly at the occasion of principal holidays. Hanoi should be supplied with additional flowers transported from Haiphong, Da Lat and even imported from China, Thailand... It is partly caused by the inadequate technique of packing and preserving flowers of Hanoi flower producers. The planters sometime use freezing store to preserve flowers. However, they don't follow exactly the technical regulations and consequently, it happens that flowers fade before getting to the consumers. Even the big shops in Hanoi cannot afford using costly measures, e.g. special solutions, to preserve flowers, hence the latter are not fresh in hot days.

Presently, the nation-wide flower-planting area accounts for about 1,500 ha, of which Hanoi alone has 500 ha. By 2010, in order to meet the demand on flowers, the city would need an area that is double as much as it is now. On the other hand, with the low price of labor and the hardworking farmers, if adequate investments are put into flower-planting area of Hanoi, it can strongly develop and sufficiently meet the demand on flowers of both local and foreign markets./.

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