Troubled farm produce market needs helping hand
By Trung Chanh - The Saigon Times Daily
CAN THO – As farmers are suffering heavy losses with farm produce price slumps, ministerial agencies have constantly called for the Government to inject capital into the agricultural sector to pull it out of tough times.
Prices drop, tears drop
After lean-meat additives had been detected at several localities, pig farmers fell into a hard time with prices plunging from VND51-53 million a ton early this year to less than VND40 million in May. Live pig prices are now fluctuating around VND35-39 million per ton.
As for rice, though only a few provinces in the Mekong Delta have started harvesting the summer-autumn crop, prices have kept going downhill. At present, the paddy category IR 50404 is bought at VND3,900-5,100 per kilo, the lowest level since 2010.
Meanwhile, tra fish growers in Dong Thap, An Giang and Can Tho are under tenterhooks due to price drops and indebtedness. According to the An Giang Fishery Association, seafood processors in the province are buying export-qualified tra fish at VND20,000-21,000 per kilo, but in fact farmers can only sell their products at VND18,000-19,000 a kilo.
Other farm produce like coconut and lemon also witness price declines. Coconut in Tien Giang and Ben Tre is priced at VND10,000-12,000 per dozen, with each dozen having lost VND120,000-125,000 against the record high late last year.
On the other hand, lemon prices have slid to VND5,000-7,000 a kilo, down VND22,000 over a month ago.
Call for help
Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said the association had proposed the General Directorate of Fisheries and the Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) petition the Government to offer businesses loans with preferential rates.
It is expected that there will be two supporting packages for the tra fish industry, one for processing and one for farming.
“Enterprises will be able to access loans to maintain their fish farms with supports worth as much as 40% of the total fish values,” said Hoe.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Son, deputy head of the Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said his department had suggested the Government provide a credit package of VND9 trillion to save the livestock industry from the current tough times.
The capital should be given to some 3,000 livestock farms to pay their mature debts and extend payments of old loans. In addition, farmers will be able to take out new loans with lending rates of less than 10% per year.
Without measures to remove the difficulties of the livestock industry, Son warned that there would be meat undersupply in the last months of the year.
In response to the constant rice price drops, the agriculture ministry has proposed the Government assign the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) to carry out a program to purchase summer-autumn rice for temporary storage to prop up the market and ensure profits for farmers.