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Opposing herbicide regulations between Vietnam and Australia turn huge Da Lat flower shipments into fertilizer

Opposing herbicide regulations between Vietnam and Australia turn huge Da Lat flower shipments into fertilizer

Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 16:45 GMT+7
Opposing herbicide regulations between Vietnam and Australia turn huge Da Lat flower shipments into fertilizer
Bouquets of chrysanthemums are piled up for destruction in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Hundreds of metric tons of flowers grown in Da Lat City of Lam Dong Province, located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region, for export to Australia have had to be ground into fertilizer due to contrasting herbicide use regulations between the two countries.

Over the past week, Dalat Hasfarm, a major florist in Da Lat, and 40 households planting flowers in the city and neighboring districts have no choice but to turn 700,000 chrysanthemum stems, which were originally meant for exportation to Australia, into fertilizer.

This large volume of chrysanthemums was already soaked into glyphosate, an active ingredient used for weed control, as per the requirements for flowers shipped to Australia.

However, such a method is prohibited by a new regulation of the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development over the toxicity of glyphosate.

The Vietnamese agriculture ministry recommends the use of alternative compounds, while Australian importers do not accept the use of substitutes other than glyphosate.

As the representative office in Lam Dong’s Duc Trong District of the Plant Protection Department under the agriculture ministry refused to grant the permit for the aforementioned flower batch to be exported to Australia, the flowers in question have been destroyed for composting.

Workers unpack chrysanthemum for destruction in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Workers unpack chrysanthemums for destruction in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

It is estimated that Dalat Hasfarm has suffered a loss of US$126,000 over its destroyed shipment.

If the company continues failing to export flowers to Australia next month, it will have to destroy about 2.2 million more flower stems, setting it back about $630,000.

Flower farmers in Lam Dong have been worried that the Vietnamese regulations will keep causing many difficulties as most of them are cooperating with enterprises to grow flowers for export.

“Flowers are being poorly sold domestically due to the pandemic,” said Nguyen Thanh, a flower farmer in Da Lat.

"Without exports, we can only burn them as fertilizer.

“It was very difficult for us to find connections for flower exportation."

Workers unpack chrysanthemum for destruction in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Workers unpack chrysanthemums for destruction in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Some 300 million flower products grown in Da Lat are exported to many countries, generating an accumulated revenue of $60 million every year.

Australia is Da Lat’s second-largest flower importer after Japan, accounting for about $5 million of the Vietnamese city’s flower export turnover.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Lam Dong has reported to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development about the obstacles caused by the glyphosate prohibition.

Meanwhile, according to the Plant Protection Department, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has permitted the trial of another active ingredient, instead of glyphosate, to prevent seed germination of harmful plants and asked the Vietnamese side to report the trial results for evaluation.

Workers unpack chrysanthemum for destruction in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

Workers unpack chrysanthemums for destruction in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.V. / Tuoi Tre

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