HA NOI — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked the Government for VND9 trillion (US$432 million) to help the hard-hit breeding industry.
The aid is to help about 3,000 breeding farmers get debt extensions, reduce their loan interest rates to 10 per cent or less, and enable them to invest in new herds of livestock by next June.
Nguyen Thanh Son, deputy director of the ministry's Livestock Breeding Department, said this action would avoid a shortage of pork and price hikes in the later months of the year.
Last year, the ministry was forced to import about 120,000 tonnes of pork to meet demand.
Son said the biggest difficulty in the livestock industry was how to sell products, even though prices for some goods were spiralling downwards.
He said the scandalous addition of banned lean-meat chemicals to "improve" pork caused a loss of consumer confidence. Pork consumption had fallen - and the price was down by 17-20 per cent compared to early this year.
The price of poultry has also dropped 20-25 per cent and eggs are down 38-45 per cent.
This has forced many farmers to narrow production or stop business altogether.
To make matters worse, farmers have found it hard to obtain reasonable interest rates, despite the recent fall from 15 per cent to 13 per cent, Son said.
Most of banks hesitated to give loans to livestock breeding farmers, claiming this was a risky agricultural production.
In the meantime, farmers are not allowed to use their property, including their land, farms and breeding animals, as security for loans.
This is why most were forced to accept interest rates of up to 20 per cent, Son said.
According to Son, apart from financial assistance, the ministry had asked the Government to let farmers access interest rates of under 10 per cent so that they could get their businesses back on their feet.
It also asked for farmers to be exempt from all quarantine fees - or have them reduced. — VNS