Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
 
Tuyen Quang (VNA) - A visit to the Central Highlands city of Da Lat in 2007 marked a milestone for a couple from the northern province of Tuyen Quang after they brought the Da Lat daisy back to their home town.

They were the first farmers to grow the Da Lat daisy in the province and in the past few years have managed to earn about 300 million VND (13,000 USD) thanks to the flower.

Pham Ngoc Hai and his wife Tran Hong Ly live in Thang Quang commune in the province’s Yen Son district. They are known as the ‘daisy-growing billionaires’.

When they started growing the daisy on the dry soil, local people were sceptical about the venture because the daisy prefers cool weather, while in Tuyen Quang it’s very sunny in summer and very cold in winter.

It was also unlikely that people in this poor area would buy the expensive flower.

Hai said that during a visit to a relative in Da Lat in 2007, he first learned about daisy farming. After one week of learning the techniques from Da Lat farmers, he bought 3,000 daisy seedlings to plant in his garden in Tuyen Quang.

Day by day, he carefully followed instructions, throwing his whole heart into nursing the seedlings.

Three months later, his family harvested the first crop, which fortunately coincided with Tet (Lunar New Year). This meant they could sell the flowers at a surprising 7,000 VND per tree. As the result, they earned profit of nearly 12 million VND (518 USD).

“We were so surprised and happy because of the profit which was much more than the profits from other crops like corn or cassava,” Hai said.

Hai and Ly gradually expanded their flower farm – from 5,000 seedlings to 40,000 seedlings per year.

These days they plant about 60,000 daisy seedlings, varying in type. On average, they sell each plant for 5,000-7,000 VND, earning up to 300 million VND in profit per year.

According to Hai, it’s easy to take care of Da Lat daisies. The flower is resistant to diseases so it requires little fertiliser. Low production cost, stable prices and little land requirements are other advantages of farming daisies.

Hai said that one “sao” (equal to 360sq.m) of daisy could generate as much income as 2ha of cassava or corn.

Hai’s daisies are not only sold in Tuyen Quang but also neighbouring provinces of Ha Giang and Yen Bai.

Hai’s family has been prospering thanks to the flower. From a poor family struggling to make ends meet, Hai now can build a new house, have money to invest in 3ha of acacia, grow more than 1,000 grapefruit, orange and tangerine trees plus dig 0.5ha of fishing pond.

Pham Van Ngoc, a farmer in Thang Quan commune, said that he was one of the local farmers with whom Hai shared his daisy technique.

Ngoc said that last year, his family started growing 40,000 daisy seedlings instead of corn.

Last month, Ngoc’s family harvested 20,000 daisy trees, selling them for 100 million VND and gaining profit of 70 million VND, Ngoc said, adding that with favourable conditions, they would harvest another 20,000 trees for Tet.

Nguyen Duc Quyen, Vice Chairman of the Thang Quan Commune People’s Committee, said that daisy farming generated high profits, thus helped many local families get out of poverty including Hai’s.

“It’s a key crop for local development when the commune is implementing agricultural restructuring for higher efficiency and income,” Quyen said.-VNA