Harsh weather casts gloomy cloud over Saigon flower market

By Thanh Nguyen   January 22, 2017 | 09:17 pm PT
Severe salinization and unseasonal rains have left farmers little to be hopeful of.

Flower boats from the Mekong Delta at Binh Dong Flower Market on Tau Hu Canal in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 8 on Sunday, five days before the Lunar New Year starts. They arrived several days later than in previous years and with much fewer plants following severe salinization early in 2016 and then unseasonal rains. 


A family from Ben Tre set up a booth for their kumquat trees at a pier along the canal. “With the salinity, the harvest is much poorer this year,” said a woman from the province.


No shiny or cheerful faces. The farmers said they usually arrive in the city ten days before Tet.


A man from Ben Tre carries pots of the bright yellow ochna from his boat. He hopes to sell each one for VND1.2-1.5 million ($53-66).


A farmer keeps his flowers fresh under the city’s hot temperature.


A plumed cockscomb pot is packed for VND35,000 ($1.55).


Binh Dong is one of the most popular flower markets during Tet where customers can get a good deal by buying straight from the farmers. Pictured is an ochna tree being delivered to a customer in District 7, around 10 kilometers away.


Vo Van Phuc from Ben Tre waits for customers. Phuc came to the city on Friday but has sold little. “There has been too much rain in the province lately and a lot of flowers were damaged.”


Tran Van Hai from Ben Tre has a rooster to keep him company. “I know business will be slow. Also, it’s the Year of the Rooster,” he said.


Unusual weather has made many the trees bloom earlier than they should, making them hard to sell.


There’s also little business here.


The market starts to draw customers in the late afternoon, but there are usually more browsers than buyers.

Photos by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

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