Garlic fields fail on Ly Son Island hinh anh 1Farmers harvest garlic on Ly Son Island (Photo: VNA)

Qaung Ngai (VNA) - Farmers on Ly Son island district in Quang Ngai central province have had a poor garlic harvest this year because of disease and inclement weather.

Farmer Duong Hien in An Hai Commune said his 2,000 sq.m of garlic fields had a yield of only more than 500 kilos this year compared to nearly two tonnes every year.

In addition, most of the harvested garlic was spoiled or looked deformed, he said.

The district farmers said that diseases and brown plant hoppers had affected the plants when they began sprouting garlic bulbs, resulting in poor quality and a low harvest.

Tran Thi Dai, who owns 500 sq metres of garlic fields in An Vinh Commune, said she could not harvest any seed garlic to cultivate the next crop.

"The large garlic cracked and the small garlic could not be used for cultivation," she said.

The poor quality also caused a drop in price at a time when farmers had spent a great deal of money on their fields.

The production cost for every 1,000 sq.m of garlic field, including buying sand, seeds and fertiliser, and pumping irrigation water, was 10 million VND (440 USD), according to farmers.

Traders and companies have also faced difficulties in finding garlic to buy.

Nguyen Van Dinh, director of the Ly Son Island Co., Ltd, which buys garlic directly from farmers and sells to supermarkets and other countries, said his company could not buy enough quality garlic to supply partners.

Dinh said his company bought fresh garlic at the fields, but no field had met required standards as most garlic bulbs had cracks or were too small.

"My company has signed a contract with a partner from the US, but I don't know how to get enough garlic to supply the partner," he said.

Ly Son garlic has a distinctive flavour, more delicious than other kinds of garlic, and is in high demand at home and abroad.

The district planted 325ha of garlic with a total yield of about 3,000 tonnes this year, down 43 percent against last year, according to the district's Rural Infrastructure and Economy Bureau.

Most of the harvested garlic did not meet required standards, according to the bureau.

Nguyen Thanh, chairman of the Ly Son People's Committee, said the prolonged hot weather had attracted brown plant hoppers, which carry disease. Other diseases also affected the plants.

Most farmers in Ly Son use traditional farming methods for garlic cultivation, which covers one-third of the district's total area.

Garlic cultivation and fishing are two major livelihoods of Ly Son residents.-VNA