Pandemic wears out Mekong Delta farm cooperatives

By Thi Ha, Anh Minh   August 14, 2021 | 02:30 pm GMT+7
Pandemic wears out Mekong Delta farm cooperatives
A longan orchard in Chau Thanh District, Dong Thap Province in July 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai
Plummeting sales due to Covid-19 and a pileup of inventories mean agricultural cooperatives in Vinh Long and Soc Trang provinces are at the end of their rope.

Nguyen Ngoc Bao, chairman of the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, said farming cooperatives are plagued by broken supply chains, ballooning inventories, higher costs, and limited resources.

He said up to 80 percent of foods produced by cooperatives and farming households are usually bought by traders, but amid social distancing and closure of markets many have stopped buying, causing sales of vegetables and fruits to fall.

Truong Ngoc Trong, chairman of the Fruit Cooperative in My Hoa Commune in Vinh Long's Binh Minh District, said fruit and vegetable sales are down by half, and the cooperative only sells a few tons a week.

Vinh Long has thousands of tons of agricultural products in inventory, according to provincial authorities.

Similarly, hundreds of agricultural cooperatives in Soc Trang have difficulty selling their produce at a time when many kinds of fruits are being or are set to be harvested. The province is expected to harvest 100 tons of longan, grapefruit, star-apple, orange, and lemon.

Bao has called on Mekong Delta provinces to consider reopening wholesales markets, prioritize vaccination of cooperative members, and waive or reduce Covid testing fees for truck drivers and cooperative workers.

The Vietnam Cooperative Alliance recently launched an electronic information portal at lmhtxvnmart.com.vn to help cooperatives find partners and boost sales. It plans to set up an e-commerce platform next year to promote sales of cooperatives’ agricultural and aquatic products.

All 19 southern localities including HCMC and 13 southern Mekong Delta provinces have imposed strict social distancing since July 19 to contain the coronavirus.

For decades, the Mekong Delta region has been Vietnam's rice bowl and aquaculture hub, meeting not only the country's food demand but also serving exports.

 
 
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