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Farmers Disadvantaged by Slow Implementation of Policy

02 June 2014

VIET NAM - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) organized a workshop to discuss solutions to change the usage of 112,000 hectares of ineffective rice-growing land to farmland for corn, sesame, soybean, peanut, melon and vegetables in early May in Tien Giang province.

Accordingly, the central budget will support farmers with VND2 million per hectare to buy seeds to change from rice-growing to planting vegetables and crops in spring-summer, summer-autumn, autumn-winter haversts of 2014 and the winter-spring haverst of 2014-2015.

It can be said that in the current environment of precarious rice prices and difficulty in consumption, it is necessary to change ineffective rice-growing areas to crop planting in order to ensure income for farmers. Although the Prime Minister has issued Decision No. 580 on support for changing to cultivated crops, the implementation in localities is still slow due to various reasons.

In the recent past, many vegetables and crops such as sweet potato, sesame, corn, tuberose flower, vegetables and melon have brought many-times higher economic efficiency as compared to rice. However, crops often prevail when they are cultivated in small areas and low yield; but when cultivated on a large scale, the situation of “bumper crops and low price” can happen and farmers have to bear the consequences.

This is the reason behind the agricultural sector and local authorities exercising caution when recommending the change from rice to vegetables and crops. The Agriculture and Rural Development Departments of the Mekong Delta said that in terms of technique, the agricultural sector can support farmers to produce vegetables and crops all year round, ensuring high productivity and quality. However, where the products are sold, who will buy them and how much they are sold for are outside the control of the agricultural sector.

Many people raise questions about the responsibilities of the industry and trade sector, trade promotion centers, businesses and cooperatives, and their operations. Regardless of such discussion many agricultural and aquatic products have still met difficulties in consumption. Although the Government has guidelines for conversion to agricultural crops, the agricultural sector and farmers are still worried about the consumer market. Consequently they see that great risk can be encountered.

Along with the planting conversion, the Prime Minister has also issued a policy on debt restructuring and rescheduling of another 3 years for farmers raising shrimp and Tra fish who are experiencing difficulties. The policy requires that banks consider new loans to enable farmers to resume production.

However, this mechanism appears to encounter many problems in implementation. “Over the past three years, farmers raising Tra fish have lost heavily, so when the government have had a mechanism of debt freezing and granting new loans that make many households glad. However, when we go to authorities and banks to propose to borrow capital for reinvestment in Tra fish but fail. Banks argued that delinquent debt, bad debt, risks in raising Tra fish so they refused to grant loans. There is no capital so I and many other households have to let ponds and lake idle while we don’t know how our debt settle?” shared Mr. Vo Van De, who specializes in raising Tra fish in Thuan An ward, Thot Not district, Can Tho city.

Not only Mr. De but farmers raising pangasius in Dong Thap, An Giang and Vinh Long provinces are also anxiously awaiting capital for reinvestment because the price of Tra fish is increasing. The implementation of the policy is slow and this is causing damage to farmers in the form of missed opportunities.

In the coastal areas of Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and Bac Lieu provinces, many farmers raising shrimp are long awaiting capital. According to the People’s Committee of Ngoc To commune, My Xuyen district, Soc Trang province, Decision No. 540/QD-TTg on credit policy for farmers raising shrimp has not been implemented in this area. Therefore, many households cannot extend their farming area, although the price of shrimp is very attractive. In addition, banks have not really engaged with farmers to develop the sector of shrimp farming. They grant loans in piecemeal to the order of VND100-200 million per hectare. These sums are not sufficient to invest in raising shrimp.

So far, in our country, the economy of many localities still depends on agriculture and agriculture is considered a pillar of social security. Over the past time, the government has issued many policies and mechanisms to promote agricultural development, and to reach out to the world. However, the distance between the policy and reality has not been reduced.

Agricultural production stabilization, ensured income for farmers and building new styled rural areas is a pressing issue. The goal is sustainable agricultural development. In order to achieve this it is necessary for all levels and sectors to be flexible in implementation and to apply policies quickly and reasonably.

Creating favorable conditions for farmers will boost production and allow them to meet the volume and time demands of the consumer market. If not, we will miss the opportunity and farmers will suffer significant losses./.

TheCropSite News Desk

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