Pangasius harvesting. (Foto: MARD)
Govt asks banks to help farmers out
Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 03:20 (GMT + 9)
Vietnam’s Prime Minister has asked State commercial banks to lower interest rates on loans for fish farmers and to give them up to 24 months to pay back debts. The banks are also asked to keep offering loans with an interest rate of just 11 per cent.
These moves are meant to help fish farmers as they struggle outbreaks of disease, falling prices, lower demand and capital shortages.
Director of Dong Thap Province's Agriculture and Rural Development Department Duong Nghia Quoc said that to grow 1,000 tonnes of pangasius (tra fish), farmers needed USD 1.15 million -- an investment was too big for them to afford without asking for bank loans. However, during the last few years, pangasius farmers faced difficulties such as falling prices for their product, making banks less willing to give out loans, he explained, VNS reports.
Director General of the Sai Gon Aquaculture Product Ltd Co Mai Dang Hoa said that many enterprises were slow in processing and exporting the fish because they lacked enough money to pay farmers.
At this point, according to Director General of Go Dang Aquaculture Product Joint Stocks Company Nguyen Van Dao, enterprises offered farmers unreasonably low prices for their produce.
Deputy Chairperson of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Duong Ngoc Minh blamed falling prices on stricter bank lending and high interest rates, which have caused farmers to sell at a loss.
The Mekong Delta region now has just 3,900 ha of tra farms, or 20 per cent less than a year ago, which has led to many tra processing factories to cut production.
Disease outbreaks have also struck farms.
Over the past week, in central Phu Yen Province's Tuy An District, 200 ha worth of white-leg shrimp have mysteriously experienced mass mortalities, causing losses of USD 5.7 million.
Pham Thi Thuy Le, vice chairperson of the district People's Committee, said that almost all communes in the district have been struggling with shrimp deaths. The worst-hit was An Hoa Commune, where up to 98 per cent of the total shrimp population was destroyed by disease.
Meanwhile, Binh An Seafood Co (Bianfishco) said it will hand over its fish processing plant to the fish farmers to whom it owes hundreds billions of dong if it is unable to pay them by 29 August. The pledge was released after a meeting held between the Acting General Director Nguyen Van Tri and representatives from dozens of farmers who set up camp in front of Tri’s villa in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho this weekend, Vnexpress reports.
- Shrimp farms experience mysterious mass die-offs
By Natalia Real