Farmers at the flower orchards in Tay Tuu are busy taking care of flower crops for Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday these days. Cultivating and cherishing each pot of flower, the farmer has high hope for the upcoming Lunar New Year amid the pandemic.
Located in Bac Tu Liem District, some 20km from the Hanoi’s downtown, the 250ha village is famous for flower growing and the main flower provider for Hanoi and other northern provinces during the Tet holiday.
Floriculture has helped raise people’s incomes and living standards while making an important contribution to local socio-economic development.
That’s why, flower farmers are having a dire wish for the pandemic to end as soon as possible, so they can sell their flowers and make up for some losses.
Daisies are one of the most popular flowers in Tay Tuu flower village. Photo: Duong Lan
“Tet is a once-a-year occasion for farmers to earn big. We have decided to grow flowers to sell at Tet then we just have to do it, though sometimes man proposes, God disposes”, said Do Dac Nguyen, a farmer in Tay Tuu flower village.
Nguyen, a lily grower, said his business used to create jobs for 10 farmers with salaries of from VND2-3 million (US$96-114) each per month.
“Before the pandemic, the crops produced good profits and the living standard in the village improved remarkably. Just one hectare of flowers provides each family with up to VND300-500 million (US$14,000-24,000) per year. Most families had built spacious news houses with modern furniture thanks to the success of flower growing,” Nguyen told The Hanoi Times.
Nguyen has been growing lily for more than ten years, with too many ups and downs to tell them all. There were times when the profit would reach hundreds of millions of dong per crop, but there were also times when it was lucky to break even.
"Aside from worrying about the weather, there is also the fear of the pandemic, which would cause the flower market to plummet as the buyers could spend less on flowers. We take care of the flower for six months, but we’d have to wait until New Year's Eve to know if the crop is successful or not. Everything is like a gamble," Nguyen added.
The old farmer Nguyen Van Hong said that growing flowers is only one part of the job, finding output for them is equally important. In addition to selling at Tet flower markets as in the years before, farmers now are selling at their orchards taking advantage of the improved road condition.
Farmer Nguyen Van Hong waters his violet field so that the flowers can be in full bloom on the occasion of Tet. Photo: Duong Lan
Therefore, in recent years, in addition to sending flowers to traders from afar, he also sells at home through advertising on social networks. This saves a lot of costs, leading to the cheaper price of flowers.
Hong said he was not afraid of the weather. He just hoped the pandemic would soon be under control, so the people could make a living and earn money to buy flowers for Tet.
"Sellers and buyers need each other, the market rotates in a cycle, as the life of the flower bouquet. Local growers in the village have tried to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic and are hoping to have a good year-end flower crop, with only one month left until the Tet holiday," Hong told The Hanoi Times.
Nguyen Tuan Nam, a perennial chrysanthemum grower in Tay Tuu village, said although he and other growers were not sure about the yield of the year-end crop due to the pandemic’s impact, they had still grown flowers as an old habit.
However, they grow in smaller area flowers with lower costs to limit risks. “We hope that the pandemic will be controlled as soon as possible so that we can earn profits to have money to re-invest for the next flower crop,” Nam said.
In an interview with The Hanoi Times, Chairman of the Tay Tuu People's Committee Dang Tran Phi said Tay Tuu villagers initially planted daisies, violets, and dahlias, using their experience and family capital. Then they were offered loans from the city's agricultural extension fund to invest in growing luxury flowers.
"Although the weather is favorable this year, flower growers are still worried because the Covid-19 pandemic remains increasingly serious. Currently, many households are still taking care of flowers for the Tet market, but the output is expected to reach only 60% compared to the same period every year," Phi said.
He expressed hope that the municipal authorities would invest more in flower farms to improve people's living conditions.
Chairman of the Bac Tu Liem District People's Committee Luu Ngoc Ha stressed that the pandemic has greatly affected the income of many families.
"We advised local growers to plant more vegetables to meet food demand during Tet," Ha said, adding that the district has supported local growers to apply science and technology to improve flower quality, he added.
"The district authorities will continue to coordinate with relevant departments to open forums, e-commerce marketplaces, support trade promotion, facilitate trade to help ensure the flower supply," Ha told The Hanoi Times.
Tay Tuu is a traditional flower-growing village that has existed for a long time. Flower growing has started in the village since the 1930s, but until the early 1990s, it really became a serious income earner of the local people.
The village attracts both local and foreign visitors. Photo: Kim Chung
After nearly 100 years, Tay Tuu was recognized as a traditional craft village of Hanoi and has become an attraction for domestic and foreign tourists. The best time to visit the flower village is the 11th month and the 12th month of the lunar calendar.
Gardens in Tay Tuu village draw crowds of tourists who wish to bathe in colorful flowers, snap stunning photos, or even get a first-hand experience of taking care of and watering flowers.
Daisies, roses, and lilies are the three main flower species grown in Tay Tuu Flower Village. In recent years, there are also some new and more expensive species such as dahlia, gerbera, violet.
If you visit Tay Tuu Flower Village one day before the first or the 15th day of lunar months, you can take part in a local flower market held by sellers and traders where you can have an authentic and local trading experience.
Coming to Tay Tuu Village these days, tourists will see a variety of colorful flowers, meticulously manipulated to ensure that they will bloom beautifully just in time for Tet.
During this time, the flowers are being covered up as protection from the weather. The light bulbs also provide more heat and regulate the growth of the flowers.