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Beleaguered Delta farmers sell off land

Update: June, 25/2013 - 10:15
An empty shrimp farm in Soc Trang Province's Vinh Chau District. Many farmers in the Mekong Delta have recently given up farming and sold their lands due to unprofitable crops.—VNA/VNS Photo Phan Thanh Cuong

HCM CITY (VNS)— With agriculture remaining generally unprofitable, many farmers in the Mekong Delta are forced to give up farming and sell their lands, causing concern among local authorities.

Pham Van Dam, who has been a rice farmer for more than 50 years in Hau Giang Province's Chau Thanh A District, said he has not earned any profits in recent years due to the volatility in prices.

This summer-autumn crop has been especially bad with very low yields as well as prices.

He plans to sell all of his 5,000sq.m of paddies located near National Highway 61B and shift to some other business, he said.

He is one of many farmers in the area with such plans.

Nguyen Van Hoa, head of the district's Truong Loi hamlet, said the price of farmland has plunged from VND90–100 million for 1,000sq.m to VND60-70 million now.

Yet, selling land is not easy since no one wants to buy, he said.

Many shrimp and tra fish farmers also want to sell their lands because business is bad.

Tran Thi Ngoat, a farmer in Can Tho City's Thot Not District, said for the last three years, tra farmers have incurred severe losses after fish prices slumped and costs kept rising.

Thus 60-70 per cent of them have has stopped farming and want to sell their land to settle debts, she said.

Again, despite falling prices — at VND100 million per 1,000sq.m, down by half from six years ago – no one wants to buy, she said.

In An Giang and Dong Thap Provinces too, fish farmers are trying in vain to sell their lands.

In Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, and Ca Mau shrimp farmers want to sell off farmland to settle their debts.

Pham Van Quan of Cau Ngang District, Tra Vinh, said the outbreak of shrimp diseases in the last two years has pushed farmers deep into debt.

Authorities in delta provinces have voiced concern about the growing numbers of farmers trying to sell their land.

Hua Sy Hung, People's Committee deputy chairman of Vinh Chau town in Soc Trang Province, said many local farmers have stopped breeding shrimp and want to sell their lands.

Area under shrimp in Vinh Chau could plummet to 4,000ha as compared to the planned 25,000ha, he feared.

If the problem persisted, the socio-economic situation would be badly affected, he said. — VNS


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