Mekong Delta provinces to help coconut farmers cope with plummeting prices

Monday, Jul 11, 2022 07:48

Coconut being harvested in Ben Tre Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Huynh Phuc Hau

Authorities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are taking measures to help farmers cope with declining coconut prices.

In major coconut growing provinces such as Ben Tre, Ca Mau and Tien Giang, prices have fallen to around VND2,000 a nut because of a decline in exports, affecting farmers’ incomes.

In Ben Tre, the country’s largest grower, the People’s Committee has sought support measures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to boost demand for coconuts and products made from them.

It wants the ministry to help promote exports to markets like the US, China, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe and assist coconut processing companies in selling their products on international e-commerce platforms.

It has called on Vietnamese trade cousellors in these markets to help its companies find and link up with local importers.

Nguyen Van Be Sau, director of Ben Tre Province's Department of Industry and Trade, said coconut prices have fallen dramatically, hitting farmers’ incomes, and exports of young coconuts for water face difficulties due to trade barriers.

Trading establishments have stopped or reduced their purchases, leaving farmers with enormous quantities of nuts, which are at risk of spoiling, he said.

The Ben Tre Department of Industry and Trade has plans to promote sales in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia this year by helping coconut companies participate in trade fairs, exhibitions and online forums to meet importers.

It also plans to work with HCM City and several provinces to promote sales of coconut and related products, especially to tourists.

Ben Tre grows 600 million coconuts annually on more than 77,000ha.

Its exports were worth US$357 million in the first half of this year, or 28 per cent of its total exports.

In Tra Vinh Province, Le Van Dong, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers are encouraged not to cut down coconut trees but to wait for support policies.

The province People’s Committee has approved a strategy to strengthen the value chain in 2022-25 period.

The country’s second largest coconut producing province will adopt Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) and organic standards.

It will establish concentrated coconut growing areas and develop linkages between farmers and companies to produce high - value coconut products, stabilise prices and improve farmers’ incomes.

Its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in co-operation with coconut - growing localities will allocate funds for improving value chains for coconut and quality.

In Tien Giang Province, authorities are trying to make coconut farming sustainable, including by expanding farming of organic produce.

The province’s Cho Gao District, for instance, plans to get organic certification for 300ha to enable exports this year.

It already has 120ha of organic groves out of a total of 7,200ha. – VNS

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