Farmers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s agricultural production hub, are hurting as produce prices plunge by almost 80 percent in the wake of pandemic provoked distribution challenges. Son Van Luan, 67, director of a cooperative in Vinh Long Province’s Binh Tan District said farmers were suffering huge losses because sweet potato prices have dropped steeply.
Before the Lunar New Year in February, Japanese purple sweet potatoes were bought and exported to China for VND1 million ($43.71) per 60 kg. However the price has dropped by about 85 percent to VND150,000-160,000 per 60 kg now reports e.vnexpress.net
Binh Tan was the province’s main area for Japanese purple sweet potato cultivation at 12,000-13,000 ha. However, the area has dropped to around 7,000 ha. "There are about 600 hectares with an output of nearly 2,000 tons that are ready for harvesting. The low selling prices have made life very difficult for farmers," said Nguyen Van Tap, Chairman of the Binh Tan District People's Committee.
Meanwhile, in the province’s Binh Minh Town, farmers growing the Nam Roi pomelo on about 2,000 hectares with an output of about 23,000 tons per year are in similar trouble.
Before the fourth Covid-19 outbreak starting in April, this pomelo variety sold for VND10,000-14,000 per kg, but this has fallen to just VND2000-9000 now, depending on the size and weight of the fruit." This price is the lowest in the past 10 years. It is impossible to cover the cost of fertilizers, pesticides, and labor," said 54-year-old farmer Nguyen Thi Suong.