Updated  
February, 20 2012 10:11:26

Coconut growers switch crops

A farmer in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Ben Tre classifies coconuts for export. Coconut farmers are facing difficulties due to falling prices. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
CUU LONG (MEKONG) DELTA — Coconut farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, especially in Ben Tre Province, are facing difficulties because the price of coconuts has declined sharply over the past four months.

In Ben Tre Province, the country's largest coconut producer, the price of dry coconuts fell from VND140,000-150,000 per dozen last October to VND34,000-40,000.

Farmer Vo Thi Hai in Giong Trom District's Phuoc Long Commune said the crop was the major source of income for most farmers.

Hai had tried to sell coconuts for VND38,000 per dozen, but she could not find a trader.

The country's coconut king, Vo Thanh Thuong of Giong Trom District, said that he wanted to sell 1,000 coconuts and his trader offered VND36,000 per dozen.

"But immediately after that the trader refused to buy my coconuts because he was afraid of further price declines," he said.

Domestic dried coconut-flesh processors said they must cut the price because of falling global prices.

Sales in the EU, North African and Middle Eastern markets, which are Viet Nam's major markets for dried coconut flesh, have been declining because of economic problems in those areas.

Because of the decline, the export price of dried coconut flesh has fallen from US$2,900 per tonne to $1,300-1,500.

Chinese traders in Ben Tre Province have also been buying the coconuts at lower prices.

Previously, there were about five to six Chinese ships docked at the Ham Luong River in Giong Trom District to buy dry coconuts, but the number is now only three to four ships.

Ho Vinh Sang, chairman of the Ben Tre Province Coconut Association, said Chinese traders bought about 35 per cent of the province's total dry coconuts.

With price drops of more than 70 per cent, 40,000 farming families have been hit hard.

Many coconut orchards have switched to selling fresh coconuts, which has caused an oversupply and lower prices.

Because of the price drop, many farmers in Ben Tre are planning to cut down their orchards to prepare to plant another crop.

Coconut farmers who live along the Ham Luong River have leased their orchards to enterprises to raise tra fish.

In Binh Dai District, many coconut farmers have also cut down their trees to dig ponds to farm shrimp.

Ben Tre has about 52,500ha devoted to coconuts, with annual output of 424 million. Ten to 15 per cent of that figure represents fresh coconuts, and the rest are dry coconuts.

The province has 70 enterprises and 1,400 family-based production units that produce coconut products, providing jobs for 50,000 people.

Ben Tre exports coconuts and coconut products to 80 countries and territories. — VNS

Send Us Your Comments:
Name:
Your E-mail address:
Title:
 

VietNamNews may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.

Highlight

HCM City struggles to control influx of substandard produce 1    HCM City struggles to control influx of substandard produce

High demand for farm produce and the sheer variety of ways in which it is brought into HCM City from other localities makes quality control a very difficult task, officials say.

Hoi An hosts silken rendezvous Hoi An hosts silken rendezvous

Top craftsmen and women from seven silk villages in Viet Nam will participate in the Viet Nam Silk Culture Day at Hoi An city's Silk Village centre on December 28.

Local art smashes auction record Local art smashes auction record

Days after noted Vietnamese artist Le Pho's View from the Hilltop set a new auction record, art collector Nguyen Minh still has a lingering feeling of regret.

Long Bien Bridge preservation divides planners 2    Long Bien Bridge preservation divides planners

Architecture and cultural managers discussed Long Bien Bridge's future at a seminar held on Wednesday in Ha Noi.

Malaysia crush VN in AFF semis Malaysia crush VN in AFF semis

Viet Nam suffered a nightmare yesterday at My Dinh Stadium in Ha Noi as they were knocked out of the ASEAN Football Federation-Suzuki Cup.