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Aug 01, 2023 / 18:16

Peach blossom farming lifts Van Tao Commune out of poverty

The living conditions and incomes of local people in Van Tao Commune have improved since it was incorporated into Hanoi in 2008.

Located in the east of Thuong Tin District, Van Tao Commune has become famous for peach blossom and ornamental tree cultivation in recent years.

With a total agricultural area of 512 hectares, the commune has favorable natural conditions for growing a wide range of ornamental trees, especially peach blossoms.

Peach blossom trees in Dong Thai Village, Van Tao Commune. Photo: The Hanoi Times

Peach blossom planting is now a regular job for the people of Van Tao Commune, bringing them high incomes and improving their living standards.

"The people of Van Tao Commune started planting peach blossoms in 1990. However, the trade did not expand for many years," said Nguyen Van Hoan, chairman of the commune's People's Committee.

On August 1, 2008, Hanoi merged with Ha Tay province and several localities in Hoa Binh and Vinh Phuc provinces by Resolution 15/2008/QH12  of the 12th National Assembly Congress on adjusting administrative boundaries for the capital and neighboring provinces. Thus, Van Tao commune became part of the capital.

"Since then, the people of Van Tao commune have reduced the area under rice cultivation, which is unprofitable, and switched to peach blossom growing," Hoan said.

So far, peach blossom has become a cash crop with higher profitability than other crops. Peach blossom farmers in Van Tao Commune have been able to learn new skills and experience and thus master various techniques to ensure peach blossom bloom in Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year) and bring highly-profitability

In recent years, more and more households in Van Tao Commune have switched their crops to peach blossom and ornamental tree cultivation. With their skillful hands and creativity, local people have found a new trade that diversifies the farming structure in the commune.

Van Tao Commune is now home to 1,200 families cultivating 92.4 hectares of peach blossoms. The farms are located in Noi Thon and Dong Thai wards and bring in a total income of about VND1.5 billion (US$63,300) per hectare per year. In addition, local residents earn about VND130 million (US$5,500) per hectare annually from cultivating 99 hectares of vegetables.

Since joining Hanoi, the commune has also reduced the number of poor households by 92% to only eight after 15 years. Per capita income has almost tripled from VND25 million (US$1,055) to VND69 million (US$2,900) per year.

"After 15 years, peach blossom planting has spread from a few wards to the whole commune. We will continue to shift our crops from rice to peach blossom and vegetables," said commune chief Hoan.

"Through the transition, our people will increase their income and the commune will move to a higher level of rural development."

Peach blossoms targeted as key product

Nguyen Thanh Liem, secretary of the commune's Party committee, sees peach blossom farming as a highly profitable business for locals.

"We plan to become one of the largest peach blossom and ornamental tree centers in the North, supplying tens of millions of product units to the market every year, especially during the Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year) period," he said.

Most of the local peach blossom plantations are able to grow 400-500 trees and invest billions of dong in initial capital. Some have expanded their farms to the size of 1,000 trees, offering highly valued plants to the market.

In 2012, the Hanoi People's Committee recognized Noi Thon District as a traditional ornamental tree village. Ten years after the merger between Ha Tay and Hanoi, Van Tao commune achieved a new rural standard in 2018. Dong Thai ward is now waiting for the city to certify it as a traditional ornamental tree village.

Every year, peach blossom and ornamental tree planting creates more than 1,000 jobs for local people with an average per capita income of VND10-15 million (US$422-633) per month, improving the commune's living conditions and socio-economic growth.

To encourage households to expand the peach blossom trade, the Van Tao Commune Party Committee, People's Committee and Cooperative frequently hold training sessions to provide local farmers with techniques and new seeds to increase their income per hectare.

"So far, converting rice fields into ornamental and peach blossom plantations is the right decision in overhauling our agricultural economic structure," said local Party Secretary Liem.