The price of ginger has doubled, hitting a record-high, this year, according to head of a Farmers' Association branch in Ho Chi Minh City's Binh Chanh district.

Tran Van Thanh, who heads the branch for Hamelt 1 in the district's Hung Long comumune, said the price of ginger rose from 40,000 VND (1.87 USD) in February to 80,000 VND per kilo.

Vo Thanh Phong, a member of the branch, said he began to plant ginger in 2002 on 2,000sq.m of land.

Although he did not succeed initially, he studied farming techniques from books and experienced farmers, expanding his ginger cultivation area to 7,000sq.m.

"Ginger growers were very excited this year as prices surged to 75,000 VND-80,000 VND per kilo," he said.

Tran Van Tung, another member of the branch, said that he now had 5.000sq.m under ginger cultivation.

Tung said demand had increased as ginger was a common ingredient in Vietnamese dishes, but also used for its health benefits.

Farmers said the price shot up because of a supply shortage, as this is not the peak season for the ginger.

Traders are visiting ginger gardens directly to purchase freshly harvested ginger and then resell it to export firms, they said.

Nguyen Thi Lan, a trader at the Thu Duc wholesale market, said main ginger supplies for the HCM City market were from western provinces and the Central Highland provinces such as Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Buon Me Thuot and Lam Dong, as well as from China.

However, some traders in the market have suspended imports of ginger from China, contributing to lead to a shortage, she said.

According to ginger growers in the district's Hung Long commune, all products were being sold immediately after harvest because farmers had no preservation methods.

Farmers said they needed help with growing, caring and preservation techniques to improve ginger productivity and quality.

Besides domestic sales, Vietnamese ginger is exported to many markets, including Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India.-VNA