Tran Hoang Ngan, of the National Advisory Council of Finance and Currency, spoke to Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) about helping farmers to be better informed about financial hazards
Binh An Seafood JSC (Bianfishco) in Can Tho City has been reported to be in debt for trillions of dong and unable to pay farmers who sold fish to the company. What do you think about similar risks that farmers may encounter?
Most farmers produce on a small and scattered scale, which has many risks, partly come from unpredictable fluctuations in input prices such as feed, fertilisers and pesticide. Risks also exist in the output process. Farmers don't sell their products directly to consumers but rather through intermediaries. Often their products are bought at low prices.
So, farmers themselves encounter a "double risk".
What measures should be adopted by the Government to protect farmers?
Farmers should know how to protect themselves first. They should join with each other by setting up co-operatives or enterprises to create an association which protects its members' rights.
Only when farmers associate can they avoid the double risk. An association would help them raise their voice in price negotiations and protect their rights.
Currently it is difficult for farmers to access information to evaluate the financial viability of a enterprise with which they want to co-operate. What do you think?
I think it is important to increase the role of farmers' unions at all levels.
Each union should have a professional department in charge of providing information and consultation to farmers. There are so many enterprises in Viet Nam whose real financial situation farmers cannot assess without the help of expert.
Also, the Viet Nam Farmers' Association should provide training in basic commercial and financial operations so farmers themselves can decide which enterprises to co-operate with.
In the case of Bianfishco, farmers were creditors of the enterprise but debtors of banks. What measures would help the farmers overcome this difficulty?
It is important that banks extend deadlines for repayment of the farmers' debts and even provide them with loans to continue their production, earn money, pay their debt and stabilise their lives. — VNS