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More greenhouses built but environment quality declines

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The massive development of green and net houses in the hi-tech agriculture movement has caused serious consequences to the environment. Greeneries are being replaced by glasshouses. 

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Greeneries are being replaced with glasshouses

 

Pham S, deputy chair of Lam Dong province, said that Da Lat City is leading the country in hi-tech agriculture. It grows crops on 50,000 hectares under hi-tech agricultural methods. This amounts to 18 per cent of the province’s cultivation land.

While farmers in other areas can earn VND60 million per hectare per annum, Da Lat’s farmers earn VND320 million and their profit amounts to over 40 percent of revenue. A high number of households have income of several billion dong per hectare.

Encouraged by the initial success of the hi-tech agriculture development, Lam Dong strives to expand the vegetable cultivation area to 20,000 hectares by 2020, of which 75 percent of area would apply high technologies. 

However, Da Lat has to pay a heavy price for the rapid development of agricultural production.

Vu Ngoc Long, former head of the Southern Institute of Ecology, commented that the concept ‘hi-tech agriculture’ has been equated with greenhouse and greenhouse-associated technologies (new materials).

In fact, hi-technology agriculture production comprises many other elements, from breeding technology, biotechnology, automatic technology application, animal husbandry and grassland development and sustainable development based on organic farming. 

Greenhouses are the last resort to help plants resist severe environmental conditions.

Because of the misunderstanding, farmers rushed to build greenhouses for vegetables and flowers to increase productivity.

According to Long, in Israel, Europe, the US and Thailand, farmers also use glasshouses, but only in areas where protecting landscapes is not an important issue. 

“Da Lat City, with its advantageous position and weather conditions, is ideal for outdoors vegetable cultivation. Why do farmers have to grow vegetables in greenhouses?” Long questioned.

According to Lai The Hung, head of the Lam Dong provincial Crop Production Sub-department, in Da Lat City alone, in the 2,000 hectare vegetable and flower growing area, 60 percent of area is in greenhouses. 

Da Lat now has no more space for greenery and plants that prevent sand intrusion. This has led to a landscape imbalance. 

He said Da Lat has suffered from floods in recent years because the water drainage system is not designed in a reasonable way to fit new production conditions.

Pham S said that  Da Lat will not exchange the landscape and ecosystem for greenhouses and net houses.

 

Source: VNN

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