Local flower firms could be top exporters hinh anh 1 Farmers harvest flowers in Central Highland Da Lat City. (Photo: nld.com.vn)

HCM City (VNA) – With vast areas suitable for growing flowers, Vietnam has the potential to become one of the world’s largest flower exporters, according to experts.

Prof Dr Nguyen Quoc Vong of RMIT University said the area for flower growth in Vietnam is equal to that of Spain, the EU’s fifth largest flower producer.

Flowers can be grown in every part of the country, and areas like Moc Chau and Da Lat, with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, are ideal for growing them for export, he said.

Tran Xuan Dinh, Deputy Head of the Crop Production Department, said flowers would play a key role in restructuring agriculture.

Last year ornamental flowers were grown on more than 23,000ha and yielded an income of 300 million VND (13,452 USD) per hectare, 10 times higher than from rice.

High-end flower cultivation models in some places yielded between 800 million VND to 2.5 billion VND, he said.

According to the department, in the past 10 years the area under flowers has increased 2.3-fold and output, 7.2-fold. The value of the output was 6.5 trillion VND.

But exports remain modest at just 50 million USD a year, way below the country’s potential, Dinh said.

A majority of farming households have been slow to revamp their farming techniques and flower plantations mostly remain small-sized, resulting in low value addition.

Since farmers and companies are not closely connected, there is no value chain to enhance flower quality and output to boost exports, experts said.

Dalat Hasfarm is the country’s largest flower producer and exporter. To penetrate the global flower market, the company has invested in modern glasshouses to grow flowers.

Thailand is the world’s largest orchid exporter, earning 200 million USD a year.

Vietnam imports a large number of seedlings and cut orchids from Thailand.

The agricultural sector has enacted policies to develop technology-based flower farming, but these have not proved effective.

Dong Thap story

Sa Dec in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, a town that has long been famous for its flowers, aspires to become one of the delta’s leading tourist cities and a major flower exporter, according to provincial authorities.

It is planned that all rice growing areas will switch to flowers by 2020, meaning there will be more than 1,000ha under flowers.

To achieve the targets, the province government has chosen a Dutch partner.

The Netherlands will build a research zone in the Hi-Tech Agricultural Application Centre in Sa Dec, offer training to local agricultural staff and farmers, transfer technologies for making nets and glasshouses, preliminary processing, packaging and help find outlets for flowers.

The centre is expected to supply Sa Dec flower village 300,000 seedlings this year and 1.5-2 million every year by 2020 to grow flowers for exports.

The province has signed an agreement with a French company specialising in urban planning to redesign Sa Dec on the lines of the delta’s leading tourist cities but with its status as a major flower exporter and the region’s characteristics in mind.-VNA