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Farmers face losses amid low demand for bananas

Update: December, 19/2015 - 09:27
Local resident sells bananas in Tran Van Thoi District, southern Ca Mau Province. This year, farmers suffered great losses due to declining demand and a sharp drop in banana prices. — Photo VNA/VNS Photo Le Huy Hai
HA NOI (VNS)— With an increasing demand for banana exports over the last few years, farmers in many localities have grown a large quantity of bananas.

However, this year, farmers suffered great losses due to declining demand and a sharp drop in banana prices.

In Vinh Phuc and Lao Cai provinces, banana prices dropped from VND120,000 to about VND15,000 per banana tier, and even with the record low price, very few traders are purchasing bananas.

This year, unsold bananas are so abundant that farmers are using them to feed cattle, while the demand for bananas exceeded the supply last year.

There are about 130,000ha of bananas nationwide with productivity of 1.4 million tonnes per year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

European countries, Japan, the Middle East, Russia and Korea consume about 10 per cent of Viet Nam's banana exports, but China remains the leading market for exports.

About 90 per cent of Vietnamese bananas are exported to China each year, according to Pham Van Hoi, a representative of the Agriculture Ecology Center.

The heavy dependence on one market as a source of banana consumption makes it hard for farmers to face a change in demand.

China's demand for exported bananas has declined due to its expansion in banana growing areas. As a result, Vietnamese farmers can hardly sell the fruit.

Strategies needed

Due to its low quality and small size, Vietnamese bananas are unable to meet the qualifications of big markets that have a high demand for bananas.

The failure of farmers to follow strict planting procedures is attributed to the low quality of bananas, and thus it does not meet importers' requirements.

In addition, banana growing areas in Viet Nam are scattered across the country, which contributes to an increase in processing, storage and packaging costs.

There should be a policy encouraging businesses to closely collaborate with farmers to produce competitive goods, said Vu Thi Nhan, a representative of Ban Mai Company.

To find a stable market for Vietnamese bananas, a policy is needed to provide markets and support to export businesses, according to Professor Dao The Anh.

A research body that focuses on studying major markets and competitors needs to be formed, experts say.

In addition, wholesale markets and concentrated shopping malls should be developed. — VNS

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