|Post-harvest losses of rice in Viet Nam are estimated at more than VND20,000 billion (US$916,600). Much of it occurs during harvesting, transporting, drying and preservation. — Photo VNA
HA NOI (VNS) — The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, said this week that post-harvest losses in farm production were still high due to the low growth of mechanisation.
Phat was speaking at a conference to review the implementation of Prime Ministerial decision No 68/2013/Qd-TTg to reduce post-harvest losses.
He said the implementation of the policy was at a low level and focused mostly on rice.
Post-harvest losses of rice in Viet Nam are estimated at more than VND20,000 billion (US$916,600). Much of it occurs during harvesting, transporting, drying and preservation.
In the past five years, the Government has issued several polices to support farmers invest in machinery and equipment to reduce post-harvest losses.
However, An Van Khanh, deputy director general of the Department of Processing and Trade's Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Product and Salt Production, said the reductions only focused on rice.
He said no attention had been paid to other crops, farm animals or fish and prawns. As a result, post-harvest losses of rice were limited, while losses in orchards, fisheries and sugarcane industries were high.
Prime Ministerial decision 68 replaced two decisions (63/2010/QD-TTg and 65/2011/QD-TTg). The new regulation broadens the variety of produce from farms. It does not include the old requirement that all machines under the scheme must be mostly made in Viet Nam.
Many rice farmers have been active in buying machines and equipment for agriculture production thanks to these incentives. However, the number of farmers who can access loans is still limited.
According to reports from the State Bank of Viet Nam, loans for the policy so far totalled VND3,468 billion ($158.9 million).
Doan Xuan Hoa, deputy chairman of Vietnamese Society of Agricultural Engineering, said VND1,030 billion ($47 million) had so far been paid back, but added that this was not enough.
He suggested the Government raise the total value of loans.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) wants to reduce post-harvest losses from the current 10 per cent to between 5 and 6 per cent for rice; from 15 per cent to 9 per cent for maize; and from 20 per cent to below 10 per cent for fisheries by 2020.
To achieve the target, participants at the conference proposed MARD to work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to review the list of machines and equipment that farmers can purchase under the scheme.
They suggested the State Bank of Viet Nam direct commercial banks to expand loans and help farmers get them. — VNS