Farm produce stuck in southern localities due to social distancing

By Doan Loan   August 18, 2021 | 08:47 pm PT
Farm produce stuck in southern localities due to social distancing
Farmers harvest rice in the Mekong Delta region. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyet Nhi
Social distancing and mobility restrictions are preventing farmers from transporting their produce for processing, disrupting the supply chain and causing rice prices to fall.

Most fruits, rice and vegetables grown in the Mekong Delta region are carried on boats since the region is filled with rivers and canals, but Covid-19 regulations are causing pileups and blockages, Le Minh Dao, deputy head of the Vietnam Inland Waterways Administration, said Wednesday.

Boat operators are required to furnish a negative Covid-19 test done within 72 hours, but some of their trips last longer than three days which means their travel pass expires, he pointed out.

Some localities ask boat pilots for their destination, but many of them travel around and do not know in advance where they would stop, he said.

A report by the Vietnam Food Association said the transport disruption has meant rice traders are unable to buy the grain, causing its prices to fall by 24 percent since May.

Dao called for resorting to rapid tests for Covid in the region to smooth traffic and prioritizing boats carrying essentials at checkpoints.

So far this year the volume of goods passing through inland ports in the Mekong Delta is down 4.8 percent year-on-year to 24 million tons.

‘Green’ routes have been created since last month to Ho Chi Minh City from provinces like Long An and Tien Giang, helping quickly transport 150 tons of farm produce to the Covid-19 epicenter.

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