Feb 2, 2013

Vietnam - Chinese run away, Vietnamese lost trillions of dong for ornamental trees

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VietNamNet Bridge – Poor farmers living in rural areas have been afflicted because of the “hy-spy” game played by Chinese merchants. After collecting ornamental trees in masses, they quietly disappeared, leaving farmers with unsold trees and losses.

One time, the styled ornamental trees were sold for several millions or several hundred of millions of dong – the sums of money big enough to make someone become rich overnight.

In many poor rural areas, Vietnamese farmers gave up rice farming and rushed to grow ornamental trees.

Dien Xa hamlet in Nam Truc district of Nam Dinh province is one of the areas. It has been well known in Vietnam as an ornamental tree village for the last 700 years. However, local residents had just developed ornamental trees to satisfy their hobbies, until one day 10 years ago, they realized that ornamental trees could bring them fat money.

Dien Xa’s local people then rushed to grow ornamental trees to sell for profits. The village was once bustling from the morning to the afternoon with people from Hai Phong, Hanoi, Nghe An, Dong Nai and HCM City flocking to buy trees.

As the demand was high, ornamental trees got more and more expensive. Some households then owned the gardens of ornamental trees worth hundreds of billions of dong. Especially, Dien Xa’s people even tried of exporting ornamental trees for higher profits.

All the land areas then were reserved for ornamental trees, and all other trees were chopped down to be replaced with the trees, especially sanh tree.

Sanh were not only grown in household gardens, but also in the rice fields as well. The land area for rice cultivation has been gradually narrowed, while the ornamental tree growing area has been increasing rapidly.

A report by the Nam Dinh provincial authorities showed that since 2006, about 2,600 hectares of uncultivated land has been upgraded for sanh plantation, while nearly 2,000 hectares of rice growing land has turned into sanh growing area.

The ornamental tree movement has led to the oversupply, and of course, the dramatic tree price decreases. Vu Van Quynh in Hai Hau district complained that he spent VND500 million to grow 1,000 sanh trees, which brought big loss to him. In 2012, the sanh tree price fell down by 80 percent, which forced him to bargain the trees away for VND30 million, the sum of money not big enough to pay for the watering works.

Quynh, like the other thousands of farmers in Nam Dinh province, suffered from his overly high investment in sanh tree development.

In mid 2006, Chinese merchants suddenly came and ordered sanh trees at high prices, which then prompted people to rush to grow sanh. In 2006-2008, sanh trees alone brought the turnover of VND300-400 billion to Nam Dinh province, while the figure soared to VND1 trillion in 2010.

The profit was so attractive that even the provincial people’s committee also encouraged people to develop ornamental trees, which can bring the profits much higher than the rice cultivation.

Especially, the documents released by the provincial authorities during that period all said that growing ornamental trees was the key to the local economic development.

However, sanh have been selling very slowly since mid 2011. Chinese, the main buyers, have stopped importing sanh. As a result, thousands of sanh trees cannot be sold, while billions of dong of people has not been taken back.

As ornamental trees are now unsalable, people have returned to their rice fields and pay a heavy price for their investments.

Dat Viet

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