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Sugarcane farmers leave crops unharvested

Update: February, 25/2019 - 17:00
Farmers in the southern province of Trà Vinh have left sugarcane unharvested because of falling prices. — VNA/VNS Photo Trung Hiếu
Viet Nam News

TRÀ VINH — Thousands of hectares of sugarcane in Trà Cú District in the southern province of Trà Vinh have not been harvested due to falling prices.

According to the district’s Agriculture and Rural Development Division, in the 2018-2019 season, local farmers grew more than 3,500 ha of sugarcane, about 1,500 ha fewer than the sugarcane growing area in the previous season.

However, until now, farmers have harvested about 1,320 ha, while the rest of the sugarcane growing area remains unharvested.

It is reported that local farmers suffered losses for the second consecutive year. The yield of sugarcane in the district is about 80 – 85 tonnes per hectare in this crop, down 15 tonnes against the last crop. 

Moreover, this year, they could sell a kilo of sugarcane for just VNĐ850, down VNĐ100 against the last drop’s price.

Low yield and falling price have caused farmers to lose over VNĐ30 million per hectare.

A local farmer, Kiên Phume in Ngãi Xuyên Commune, Trà Cú District, said that her family had 0.6 ha of sugarcane with productivity of about 80 tonnes per ha, but they suffered losses of over VNĐ20 million this crop due to low sugarcane prices.

She added that wholesalers usually delayed paying farmers for 30-60 days.

“If farmers don’t accept the payment delay, wholesalers will not buy their sugarcane,” she said, adding that they would rather not harvest the sugarcane than suffer more losses due to labour costs.

Chairman of Trà Cú District People’s Committee Lê Hồng Phúc said that the district had nearly 5,000 ha for sugarcane cultivation, which accounts for about 80 per cent of the sugarcane growing area in Trà Vinh, but for this crop about 3,500 ha was used.

As sugarcane price dropped and farmers suffered more losses, many farmers switched to other crops or raise fish.

“Only 200 ha of sugarcane has been replanted for the next crop in 2019-2020,” Phúc said.

He said that local authorities called on farmers to keep growing sugarcane to ensure supply to the Trà Vinh Sugarcane Joint Stock Company.

He added that they also suggested farmers switch to other crops to make use of land area where water supply was stable. — VNS

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