11:20:44 AM | 26/6/2006
Climate, land and people have created famous brand names for Lam Dong provinces. However, much work remains to be done to turn these brand names into lucrative resources.
Da Lat – the land of flowers
Flowers are seen everywhere in Da Lat and Da Lat is also well-known everywhere thanks to its flowers. Peach blossoms, violet flamboyant, mimosa, forget-me-not and wild sunflowers all bloom under pine leaf canopies, along hillsides and deep in mountain creeks. Amidst the green grass carpet, there arise the purple of forget-me-not, heather-bell and cornflowers, the pink of gladiolus and the orange of narcissus, weaving a flowery coat over the city of Da Lat. Flowers were first introduced by migrants to the city. Margarite, hortensia and camellia... were among the first flowers planted in Da Lat’s famous flower villages such as Van Thanh, Da Thien and Dong Tinh in the 1930s and 1940s.
Mr Muoi Loi (Bui Van Loi), who successfully transplanted Ha Noi peach blossom on Da Lat peach blossom, said that previously Da Lat mainly grew Japanese daisy, rose, French lyly flower but flower petals were small and colors were not as beautiful as expected. From 1983 to 1985, Da Lat exported 32,000 flower sprigs to Czechslovakia and the former Soviet Union. But then, these flower varieties gradually degenerated and were not replaced with better new varieties. Flower export encountered difficulties and thus Da Lat mainly focused on the domestic flower market.
The flower revolution in Da Lat was brought about by Dalat Hasfarm. Dalat Hasfarm – a flower company – was established in 1994, ushering in a new chapter in the history of Da Lat’s floriculture with focus given to specialized flower growing areas and application of biotechnology in flower varieties selection, watering, preservation and care. Hundreds of temperate flower varieties were imported from Southeast Asian and European countries, such as Indonesian daisy, tulip, rose, lyly and ayum with various colors. A fragrant and colorful world of flowers has thrived in Da Lat with every passing year. Da Lat flower farmers have adopted new floriculture technologies and developed specialized flower growing areas for export. At present in Da Lat, there are thousands-of-square meters glasshouses where flowers are grown with modern technologies.
Although the brand name of Da Lat flower is time honored, the process of gaining its foothold in the world market has been really challenging. This process begins with modern floriculture techniques, including flower varieties, harvest, care and preservation, export and marketing. The annual Da Lat Flower Festival held during the past years is an outstanding effort by Lam Dong province’s authorities to promote Da Lat flowers to the world.
Lam Dong Tea
At present, Lam Dong has 25,508 hectares of tea, accounting for one fourth of the country’s total tea cultivation area. Tea was grown in Lam Dong very long time ago. With fertile plateau land and temperate climate all year round, all domestic or imported tea varieties grown in Lam Dong have unique fragrance and taste, making well-known tea trademarks such as Viet Nam black tea and green tee, artichoke tea, Japanese green tea, four-season tea, Kim Tuyen tea, Olong tea, high-yield tea, Thuy Ngoc tea and Yabukita...
Although Lam Dong tea has been famous in the country for a long time but in the 1990s, tea was not developed because of slowly improved tea varieties, low-quality tea processing and inadequate marketing. In an effort to facilitate local tea companies, Lam Dong Provincial People’s Committee has approved the plan of tea sector development and decided to develop new tea varieties of good quality and high yield. The authorities have also provided incentives to encourage domestic and foreign companies to invest in high-quality tea and facilitated commercial marketing for the tea sector.
Lam Dong province has cooperated with Taiwanese and Japanese enterprises to introduce famous high-quality tea brands such as Four-Season tea, Kim Tuyen tea, Thuy Ngoc tea and Yabukita. Every year, these new tea varieties bring about VND160-170 million per hectare. The province is also developing the high quality tea growing program to the effect that by 2010, 50 per cent of the local tea area will be converted to high-yield and good-quality tea varieties.
With regard to tea export, Lam Dong Tea Company – the local leading tea company – has strengthened its foothold in existing markets such as North America and Taiwan, while intensifying efforts to seek the new ones. The company has dispatched a number of working groups to explore new markets such as India, Japan, Iraq, Malaysia, Thailand, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States, and actively participated in various domestic and international tea expositions. Thanks to these efforts, 93 per cent of the company’s production is for export purposes.
Da Lat vegetables heading for export markets
According to the report by Lam Dong Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, at the end of 2005, the total vegetable cultivation area of the province was 29,117 hectares with the output of 709,600 tons, mostly concentrated in Da Lat city. Apart from existing vegetable varieties, Lam Dong province has adopted a wide range of high-quality and lucrative vegetables to meet domestic consumption and export demands. The proportion of safe vegetable production of Lam Dong province in general and Da Lat city in particular is on the rise. However, well-known vegetable trademarks or established vegetable companies just can be counted on fingers.
Acknowledging this reality, Xuan Huong Cooperative is very dynamic and proactive in promoting its own trademark although the cooperative is quite young as compared with other local cooperatives. Building on the available advantages of vegetable cultivation, Xuan Huong Cooperative has focused on production of safe vegetables from the very beginning. By now, many enterprises from Hochiminh City, Vung Tau and several Central provinces have signed contracts with the cooperative for procurement of vegetables. According to Mr. Nguyen Duc Quang – the Cooperative’s Director, building a brand name in the domestic market is not really difficult while export markets are needed to ensure sustainable development.
The hi-tech agricultural development program of Lam Dong province considers vegetables as the main crop of three key cultivation areas of Da Lat city, Don Duong district and Duc Trong district. Precincts No. 07, 08 and 09 of Da Lat city are planned as three hi-tech vegetable production areas.
The prospect of Vietnam’s joining the WTO in the near future opens new opportunities for Da Lat vegetables to access various countries in the world, especially European countries. Nevertheless, the stringent demands of these markets require us to adopt standardization in varieties selection, cultivation techniques, harvest, processing and trademark declaration. This effort will help Da Lat vegetables and other agricultural products to find their ways to international markets on the integration journey.