Growing mushroom in Lâm Đồng Province’s Lạc Dương District. – Photo baolamdong.vn
LÂM ĐỒNG – Lâm Đồng Province seeks to have 250 well-functioning agricultural co-operatives and two co-operative alliances by next year.
Speaking at a seminar in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province on Monday, Nguyễn Thị Tường Vi, deputy chairman of its Farmers Association, said there now 200 agricultural co-operatives but their scale and functioning are modest.
Under a joint programme between the province Co-operatives Alliance, Farmers Association and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the province also plans to establish 154 new agricultural co-operatives by the end of next year.
It provides support to co-operatives by offering training in management skills and helping build brand names and access soft loans.
During their establishment stage, its support includes 30 per cent subsidy of the cost of equipment and infrastructure, 70 per cent of the cost of buying packaging and labels and 40 per cent of the cost of technologies.
At the seminar, co-operative representatives spoke about the difficulties they face.
Nguyễn Minh Phương of the Thành Đạt Co-operative in Đà Lạt City’s Tà Nùng Commune said under the new-style rural area programme, each commune must have at least one agricultural co-operative, but few create favourable conditions for their functioning, he said.
For instance, while households that produce to Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards have the cost of applying for VietGAP certification subsidized, agricultural co-operatives do not, he said.
The province should consider creating more favourable conditions for co-operatives, he said.
At the seminar, companies from neighbouring provinces like Gia Lai and Đắk Lắk discussed with agricultural co-operatives contracts to supply inputs and buy their produce.
Those co-operatives that are operating efficiently help many farmers earn steady incomes.
They include the Lâm Đồng Agricultural Service Environment Co-operative in Đà Lạt, which co-operates with 50 farmers in Lạc Dương District to grow mushrooms.
It instructs them in the mushroom-growing techniques, supplies inputs and buys their output.
Rơ Glê Luyên, one of the participating farmers, who lives in Lạc Dương Town, said the deal with the co-operative offers her security since it buys all her mushrooms at fixed prices.
“When the mushroom is harvested, the co-operative will come to my house to purchase.”
Trần Ngọc Toàn, executive director of the co-operative, said it buys around 500 kilogrammes of mushrooms a day but could sell around a tonne in the market.
Therefore, it is looking for more farmers to collaborate with to increase its purchase volume, he said.
The province Farmers Association has helped the participating farmers get soft loans to build houses to grow their mushrooms since a 600sq.m structure costs VNĐ90 million (US$3,880).
The association has also collaborated with local authorities to offer training courses for farmers. – VNS