Cooperation between farmers and businesses has brought profit and stable output for coconut growers in Ben Tre province (Photo: cand.com.vn)

Ben Tre (VNA) - Cooperation between farmers and businesses has brought profit and stable output for coconut growers in the southern province of Ben Tre, which produces the most coconuts in Vietnam.

Linking businesses and farmers improved the quality and value of products made from coconut trees and boosted local economic development.

Lu Van Dung, a farmer in Giong Trom district’s Hung Le commune, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that cooperating with enterprises offered them a stable price for their crops.

Output was not stable when they sold their products to traders, he said.

“Farmers are forced to sell their products to traders at low prices if they have a bumper crop,” Dung told newspaper.

Sometimes, the price of coconut was only at 14,000-15,000 VND (0.62-0.67 USD) per dozen, he said.

This did not happen after he signed a contract with Ben Tre Import-Export Joint Stock Company three years ago.

Guaranteed, stable income was what convinced Dung to join the project with 1ha of his field.

“They provide the fertiliser, techniques, they cover the output. I don’t have to worry about prices plunging like with traders,” Dung said.

He added that the company committed to buy coconuts at 50,000 VND (2.2 USD) per dozen.

They also would pay more if the market price rose above the current floor price, Dung said.

Nguyen Van Khinh said he is happy to know he can count on a stable year-round price after signing with the company.

He asked the company to sign a long term deal instead of his current one year contract, Khinh said.

Besides offering farming advice and fertiliser, they also provide farmers with plant protection drugs, he added.

“The company provides about 12 million VND per ha each year to help farmers,” Khinh said.

The number of farmers co-operating with the company and other local businesses has increased sharply.

More than 1,120 households have joined the company’s project, covering an area of 897ha, with monthly output of 900,000 coconut fruits, said Ho Thanh Liem, the company’s technical manager.

According to Ben Tre Coconut Association, the province has more than 63,000ha of coconut trees, with a yield around 500 million fruits per year.

However, coconut products for export are still limited, with dry coconut fruit and desiccated coconut the main exports.

Research from the Oil and Oil Plants Research Institute revealed that the coconut sector has faced many difficulties due to shortage of planning.

Sometimes, coconut processing plants lacked materials due to foreign traders buying coconuts from farmers at higher prices.

However, linking farmers and businesses should be strengthened to bring more profits for both, experts said.-VNA