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Mekong Delta authorities step in to help farmers sell their crops as traders play truant

A fish processing plant in Đồng Tháp Province. Mekong Delta provinces are working on ways to help farmers sell their harvest amid the lack of transport due to COVID-19. – VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh

HCM CITY – Authorities in Mekong Delta provinces are helping farmers sell their harvests after they were found struggling amid COVID-19 transport and movement restrictions.

Farmers usually sell their crops and seafood to traders at the farm, but with the restrictions currently in place, the latter are not turning up.

Nguyễn Minh Phồi, head of a co-operative group in Cà Mau Province, said though the prices of seafood have been dropping by tens of thousands of đồng per kilogramme, farmers are struggling to sell them.

Many could incur heavy losses, he said.

Trần Văn Hiền, a crab farmer in the province’s Năm Căn District, told Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper that though prices have never been this low before, traders are not visiting farms to buy. Even the few who turn up only buy small quantities since they are concerned about selling them.

If the situation is not resolved, farmers would not be able to invest in a new crop, he warned.

Ngô Minh Nguyên, a prawn farmer in Bạc Liêu Province, said the prices of animal feed and medicines are rising, but he continues to breed since the farm equipment could not be left unused for too long.

Earlier this month Nguyễn Như Cường, head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's crop production department, said with farmers in the delta struggling to sell their rice despite low prices, some are even reluctant to grow rice again.

Nguyễn Tiến Hải, the Cà Mau Party Committee Secretary, said the province has been making an effort to connect farmers with buyers, and monitoring farming activities to identify transport and distribution problems.

The Sóc Trăng Province People’s Committee has requested Cần Thơ City and provinces in the delta to join hands to fight COVID-19 and sustain the economy.

It wants them to work together on solutions to improve distribution.

The Bạc Liêu Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has created a working group to facilitate distribution of recently harvested prawn.

Its counterpart in An Giang Province is working with other agencies and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s working group to connect farmers with businesses to sell some 6,500 tonnes of seafood.

In Hậu Giang Province, Phụng Hiệp District has set up many sites to stockpile agricultural produce and seafood from farmers for vehicles to conveniently pick them up and transport them throughout the district.

Some co-operative groups there are also transporting goods to HCM City and some provinces.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Trần Thành Nam said a ministry working group has launched a website to connect agricultural suppliers with buyers, and hundreds of tonnes of goods are sold daily.

Provinces should set up working groups for managing their agriculture markets, he added. – VNS

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