China’s halt to buying cause of coconut cutting wave
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Farmers in the southern province of Ben Tre, known as the country’s kingdom of coconut, have recently rushed to empty their coconut plantations for an all-too-familiar reason: supply has outgrown demand as Chinese traders have again suddenly vanished.
Nguyen Van Kha, a coconut farmer in Ben Tre City, cuts down his coconut trees Photo: Tuoi Tre
The coconut market in Ben Tre relies heavily on Chinese traders, and they have disappeared right as production this year rose by 25 percent, local businesses said.
And what the foreign traders left behind is a huge unsold inventory, while prices have dropped to a throwaway rate.
The provincial people’s committee on Tuesday held an urgent meeting to seek solutions to stop farmers from chopping down their trees, and assist them as well as coconut processors. But no feasible solutions have been found yet.
Tran Anh Tuan, deputy head of the committee, ordered the localities in the province to encourage farmers to stay calm and wait for the market to recover.
“Local authorities should also provide guidance for farmers to grow cocoa or grapefruit in coconut gardens to increase income,” he said.
The coconut price has dropped to a mere VND800 each, or 38 US cents. Earlier the rate was some VND10,000 a coconut.
In related news, many attendees of a conference held by the Tien Giang People’s Committee have expressed their concern over the heavy reliance of blue dragon fruit on the Chinese market.
Last year, more than 80 percent of the total production of Vietnamese blue dragon fruits was exported to China.
The provincial people’s committee said they will assist farmers in growing the fruits in accordance with the Viet GAP and Global GAP (Good Agriculture Practice) guidelines to increase exports to other markets such as Japan, Korea, the US, and the EU.