Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NGÃI — Farmers of the southern central province of Quảng Ngãi are now suffering a severe crisis due to the catastrophic drop in vegetable prices. Some 1,000 ha of vegetables in local farms could become raw material for fertilisers instead of making it to markets.
“Vegetable prices have hit bottom this year,” several local farmers told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) Newspaper. At the present, the wholesale price of a kilogram of vegetable is VNĐ1,000 (US$0.04), falling 50 times below the price this time last year. Special kinds of vegetables which are usually served at restaurants, such as lettuce or cabbage, are faring the same way.
Nguyễn Hiệu, head of Nghĩa Dũng Commune Farmers’ Association in Quảng Ngãi City, said that at the end of 2017, vegetable prices ranged from VNĐ16,000 to 20,000 ($0.7 – 0.87) per kilogram. Phạm Bá, deputy head of the provincial Department of Planting said that the favourable weather had resulted in a good yield, triggering the price drop.
Meanwhile, the retail price of vegetables at local markets is kept at VNĐ8,000 to 10,000 ($0.35 – 0.44) a kilogram.
Farmers have not come up with any solution but making fertilizer from their vegetables.
Trần Phụng, a farmer in Nghĩa Dũng Commune, Quảng Ngãi City decided to destroy his 0.2 ha lettuce farm as no one was willing to buy.
“We spent VNĐ3.4 million ($149) to buy lettuce seeds from the central highlands city of Đà Lạt. Since this yield is not successful, we have to seek another job for living,” he said.
Phạm Đình Hân, Phụng’s neighbor, thinks the same. He had his vegetable farm leveled to plant others kinds of trees.
“As the vegetable price is too low, we rather destroy it all to make fertilisers,” said Hân.
Since local farmers depend heavily on their farming works, whole families are now doomed by the financial difficulties.
Nguyễn Thị Hoa, another farmer in Nghĩa Dũng Commune, whose sons are studying at universities in HCM City, has to borrow more than VNĐ24 million ($1,055) to pay for their tutor fees. This year, the 0.2 ha vegetable garden brought her family only VNĐ1 million ($43).
According to famer Phan Kế Toán, 76, they are longing for the rising price of chilies, which are exported to China in large quantities. However, no wholesaler has yet approached local farmers.
Farmers in Quảng Ngãi Province are not the only ones to suffer. In Diên Thành Commune, Diễn Châu District, in the northern central province of Nghệ An, farmers are selling green beans or cabbage at VNĐ5,000 ($0.21). Moreover, Lê Thu Hà, a farmer in Triệu Phong District, Quảng Trị Province, said that the purchasing power was also weak on days after Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) Holiday.
“I took 40 bunches of mustard to the central market and sold them at VNĐ700 ($0.03) a bunch. From dawn to noon, all I could get was only VNĐ28,000 ($1.23),” she said. — VNS