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Information for farmers
The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Jun 26, 2017,21:06 (GMT+7)

Information for farmers

The Saigon Times Daily

Local farmers’ achievements are undeniable. Vietnam has gained reputation worldwide, taking top positions among the world’s leading exporters for numerous types of farm produce ranging from rice, coffee, cashew and pepper to shrimp, tra fish and some other seafood. But farmers are not gaining the good fruit.

Sadly enough, farmers for the most parts are still grappling with difficulties, as millions of them have incurred huge losses in relentless “boom and bust” cycles. Numerous rescue programs have been initiated of late to call for efforts from the society to help farmers overcome their hardships.

Live pig prices, for example, have stayed at around VND25,000 a kilo for months on end, a sharp plunge from around VND50,000 a kilo a year earlier, and the same picture is seen for many other types like chickens and eggs and crocodiles. Similar outcries are also heard from farmers growing dragon fruit, watermelon, banana, and dozens of other agricultural products.

Why does the picture still depict gloomy dabs instead of bright shades despite the aforesaid achievements? This question has been repeatedly asked, one year after another, but it seems no one has worked laboriously enough to give a right answer.

Farmers, in pursuing profits, are all ears at news that a certain product brings better profit, and then are ready to empty their pockets into rearing that certain animal or planting that certain crop. Upon gaining a decent profit, they will expand farming without knowing whether such farm produce output has doubled or even tripled while the market has become saturated. After the booming comes the busting, and battered by huge losses, farmers will usually shift to another animal or a new plant in the same way, and the same cycle begins.

The key problem is that farmers are not kept updated on market developments. If pig farmers had learned with reliable data that the market glut was looming large, perhaps they would have not taken such risks; if pepper farmers had known for sure that the global pepper market was reaching the saturation point – forcing prices down from VND200,000 a kilo last year to a mere VND70,000 now – they would have probably thought twice before chopping down their coffee plants for this spice.

Apparently they need reliable information.

State agencies cannot dictate what farmers should do, but they can give advice and good information so that farmers can rely on to make well-informed decisions. Information must be easily accessed so that farmers can instantly learn of market demand each year through statistical reports and get updated on the number of pigs or dairy cows being reared in comparison with output in recent years. Farmers should also be informed of market trends locally, regionally and globally, and all possible predictions on supplies and demands. They need to be kept abreast of market changes.

And, among training programs for farmers, there should be special programs to show them how to access information.

The Saigon Times Daily


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Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Pham Huu Chuong
Managing Editor: Nguyen Van Thang.
Assistant Managing Editor: Pham Dinh Dung.
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