|Local farmers harvest coffee berries in Muong Ang District in the northern mountainous Dien Bien Province. — Photo tintucnongnghiep.com
DIEN BIEN (VNS) — Many farmers in the northern mountainous Dien Bien Province's Muong Ang District are pleading for help as the price of coffee has fallen sharply following a bumper crop this year.
The coffee price has dropped from VND8,000 (US$0.35) to VND3,500 ($0.15) per kilogram, half the price recorded last year. Farmers will likely suffer losses of up to VND21 million ($933) per hectare, if the price does not rise.
Last year, the farmers suffered huge losses due to a sharp decline in coffee output.
Do Van Vui, a farmer in Muong Ang District's To Cang Village, said he was very worried as his 5ha coffee garden was ready to be harvested, but the price was dropping heavily.
Traders have offered to pay him VND3,500 per kilogram.
Nguyen Thi Tuoi, another farmer in the same village, said she had thought of hiring a truck to transport the coffee berries to the central region, but the highest price the traders had offered her was VND4,000 per kilogram.
"We have land lying idle for coffee cultivation, but if the situation does not improve, we don't think we will plant more coffee," she said.
Both Vui and Tuoi said there should be support policies for farmers as they have had to suffer losses in the past several years due to decline in both coffee output and prices.
Figures from Muong Ang District's People's Committee show that coffee is being cultivated on 3,350ha in the province.
Coffee is seen as a key plant that could improve the living standards of local farmers. The committee has set the goal of increasing the coffee cultivation area to 3,800ha by 2020.
Vice-Chairman of the committee Nguyen Huu Hiep said unstable coffee prices in recent years have failed to assure the income of local farmers.
The committee has encouraged farmers to cultivate other crops to increase their income, but the situation has not improved much.
Hiep said the first priority was to promote the trademark of Muong Ang coffee to help increase its prices.
Currently, there are only three processing coffee businesses in the province, which consume a small amount of the coffee berries. Farmers mainly sell their coffee berries to traders.
Giang Thi Hoa, vice-chairwoman of the provincial People's Committee, said the committee would work with the People's Council to adopt support policies for the affected farmers soon. — VNS