Flower farmers fret over reduced selling space in HCMC

Farmers from prominent southern flower-growing villages in Ben Tre, Dong Thap and Binh Duong provinces are distressed after learning that areas to sell their blossoms in Ho Chi Minh City’s 23-9 (September 23) Park have been reduced ahead of the upcoming Tet holiday.

Flower growers who live outside of HCMC are upset as city space that they rely on to sell their blossoms has been reduced this year. (Photo: Phap Luat)

This year, the city has cut the number of rental plots where flowers can be sold at the park from 900 to just 500, with priority given to city residents.

Tens of households from the two largest flower villages in the south, Sa Dec and Vinh Hoa in Cho Lach District, Ben Tre Province met with disappointment on January 22 after being told by the HCMC Green Trees and Park Company that there were no more plots available at 23-9 Park.

Farmer Nguyen Ngoc Hieu from Ben Tre said he had waited for three days without eating to register for a plot at the company, but his attempt was unsuccessful.

On January 4, Mr. Hieu submitted an application to the company to rent a lot in the park as he had in the past.

Not realizing that the lots had been limited this year, he returned to his hometown and signed contracts with truck and boat owners to transport his flower pots to the city.

But on January 10, the company informed him they could not guarantee space and told him to wait.

“I don’t know where I should transport my flower pots to now,” Mr. Hieu lamented.

Another farmer, Nguyen Thi Hanh, also from Ben Tre Province, said that the company’s late announcement that it would give priority to HCMC residents has left out-of-town farmers in a difficult situation.

She had also made earlier arrangements to have her flowers transported to HCMC, but now has nowhere to sell them.

Rural residents spend great amounts of money and work hard all year to cultivate their flowers and ornamental trees in anticipation of selling them in HCMC for Tet.

If they cannot find anywhere to sell their products, they stand to suffer huge losses and could go into debt, farmers said.

The HCMC Green Trees and Park Company now charges VND2 million for a 20-square-meter lot in front of the 23-9 Park. For lots within the park, the charge is VND1.5 million.

Some lot renters are willing to hand over their space to out-of-town sellers, but only at exorbitant prices of around VND6-8 million.

Mr. Ngo Cong Bao, head of the company’s Planning and Investment Department, said that in previous years, 23-9 Park had two areas with plots for rent. But this year, the city allowed just one of the areas to be rented.

Meanwhile, the number of sellers this year has surged by 30 to 40 percent, leading to even higher demand for space.

The company has now opened an additional 800 lots in Gia Dinh and Le Van Tam parks, but demand still outweighs supply as the new area has already been filled by city residents, said Mr. Bao.

By Tran Thanh – Translated by Thu Thuy

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