After the Lunar New Year of the Horse 2014, many vegetables grown in Da Lat city, Lam Dong province and neighbouring areas (branded Da Lat vegetables) dropped in price significantly, said the Communist Party of Vietnam(CPV) online newspaper on March 5.

It is time to harvest some vegetable gardens but traders offered to buy at very low price which is not enough to cover the cost of renting labour for the harvest, leaving farmers unable to sell their products, according to CPV online newspaper.

Actually, this is not the first time growers of Da Lat vegetables have had to leave their products in the field. The situation of bumper crops resulting in low prices, and seeing high prices only after poor crops has happened many times in the greatest vegetable growing area in the country.

The main reason is the poor linkage between production and consumption networks, and poor market information.

Da Lat is the largest and high-quality vegetable production area in the country. With the favourable condition of climate and altitude, farmers have experience and access to high technology, so vegetable production in Da Lat is a model for farmers in other areas.

Da Lat annually plants over 50,000 ha of vegetables, of which 12,000 ha is applied high technology.

Productivity, output and prices of vegetables produced by high technology is increasing. Revenue of high-grade vegetables is over 400 million VND/ha/year, 1.6 times higher than the average rate of the province. The trademark of Da Lat vegetables has been certified and appears throughout the country and in some foreign markets.

However, consumption markets for Da Lat vegetable have been precarious for years. Among about 1.7 million tonnes of vegetables produced annually, 13,000 tonnes are exported. The rest is consumed locally, and it is mainly sold to traders in wholesale markets.

Farmers sell kinds of vegetables they have, while traders only buy sort of vegetables which bring them high profits, if not they force farmers to sell at low price or leave farmers flat. Moreover, farmers usually rush to grow high price vegetables at the previous season but not know that the selling price could be changed at the next crop.

Although the Da Lat vegetable market is gloomy, production and consumption of vegetables of many households, collectives and businesses are still stable, such as Da Lat Gap Co., Ltd, Xuan Huong collective, and Anh Dao collective.

In these units, farmers produced vegetables with quantity and types ordered by supermarkets so they don’t worry about seasonal price dips. Furthermore, the distributors are active in their source of supply to ensure quality and standards.

This shows that for agricultural production activities, especially fresh products such as vegetables, market research and consumption network organisation are urgently needed. However this is not easy for farmers, and it should be supported by the State.

Indeed, over the past time, Lam Dong province had many activities to support farmers such as approving vegetable production area planning until 2020 for sustainable and effective development, associating production with processing and consumption of products.

In addition to infrastructure investment, promotion of scientific and technological application to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables, the province also pays attention to attracting investors in purchasing and processing products; building links between households, cooperatives, and businesses in the supply of agricultural materials and consumption of products; strengthening trade promotion, market development, building transaction floors for vegetables, fruits and flowers to create favourable conditions for businesses to participate in trading.-VNA