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Delta hit by low rice prices

Update: June, 17/2013 - 09:59
The summer-autumn rice crop is harvested in An Giang Province's Phu Tan District. — VNS Photo/Hoang Hoa
CUU LONG DELTA (VNS)— Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta farmers are hoping that the programme to purchase rice for reserves will boost the low market prices existing as the summer-autumn crop is harvested.

On Friday, prices of paddy and rice remained very low. In the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces like An Giang, Long An and Tien Giang, undried paddy sold for VND3,550 – VND3,600 per kilo while dried paddy fetched VND4,850 – VND4,950 per kilo.

The prices of long-grain paddy was VND5,100 – VND5,200 kg, much lower than the 2012-2013 winter-spring crop.Do Anh Tuan, a farmer in Tan An Commune, Kien Giang Province's Tan Hiep District, said his family has harvested over one hectare of IR 50404 paddy, but "the price was very low, only VND3,700 per kilo. Therefore, I have to dry it for preserving.

"There will be more fields to be harvested in the coming days. We will run out of warehouses to store the paddy from the harvest. So it will be sold at any price."

Le Chi Vung, Deputy Director of the Dong Thap Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said purchasing for reserves started a little late in his province because the crop is being harvested earlier than in other delta localities.

The late start makes it difficult for Dong Thap farmers to sell their paddy, because over 60 per cent of the fields under the summer-autumn rice crop have already been harvested, said Vung.

Le Minh Duc, Director of the Long An Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has over 230,000ha under this year's summer-autumn rice crop, of which 20 per cent has been harvested so far. Duc proposed that funds allocated by the Government to purchase rice reserves are made directly to the provinces (instead of trading enterprises). This would enable provincial authorities to use them and give three-month interest free loans to farmers that the latter can use to repay bank loans and buy farming materials.

Huynh Van Ganh, Director of the Kien Giang Department of Industry and Trade, said a big problem is that there is no co-operation between the Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) and provincial authorities.

He said provincial authorities are the ones who always know how much rice is sold in each locality, but the VFA does not consult or inform them when it allocates quotas for reserve purchases among its member enterprises.

According to Tran Quang Cui, Deputy Director of Kien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, by the end of last week, the province had harvested over 35,000ha of the 240,000 ha under the summer-autumn crop, with an average output of 5.4 tonnes per ha.

"Kien Giang farmers have come under increasing pressure when the summer-autumn crop reached its peak, because a large volume of paddy from the last winter-spring crop is still unsold," Cui said. — VNS

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