Rice farmers rue missing out on price rise hinh anh 1Since they sell fresh rice right after harvesting, farmers are not benefiting from rising prices. – (Photo: danviet.vn)

HCM City (VNA)
- Many farmers in the Mekong Delta are regretting that they did not stockpile any rice as prices rise continuously and supply remains limited.

Rice traders, meanwhile, are also finding it difficult to get enough of the grain for exports.

The 2017 crop year is coming to an end. In provinces with large production areas and high yields, such as Kien Giang, An Giang or Dong Thap, the amount of rice yet to be harvested is small, while there is no inventory as farmers have been selling their produce soon after harvesting it.

Nguyen Minh Thien of Kien Giang province’s Tan Hiep district told the Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that his family finished harvesting three weeks ago.

“At that time, freshly harvested OM 5451 rice was selling at 5,100 VND (0.25 USD) per kilogram. Now, it has since risen by 500 VND per kilogram but there is no rice left. We should have stocked dried rice to get the additional 10 million VND (440 USD) with our 18 tonnes of rice,” he said.

Le Van Manh, head of Tan Hiep district Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DoARD), said that local farmers had planted 34,158ha of rice with approximate productivity of 5.5 tonnes per ha.

“Most of the crop was harvested when the rice price was at average levels. Only about 10,000ha of rice were gathered when the prices rose. Since farmers no longer stock dried rice, they are disappointed about the missed chance,” said Manh.

An Giang province started its harvest season late. Local farmers here say that it is rare to have rice prices rising from 300 VND to 600 VND per kilogram in such a short time.

Tu Khanh Nhon of Chau Phu district’s Thanh My Tay commune is harvesting his crop. He said the farmers worked very hard to save rice fields from flooding by strengthening local dykes. Their work has paid off.

Over the last two weeks, traders have deposited 500,000 VND (25 USD) for every 0.1 ha and bought rice at 5,500 VND to 5,800 VND per kilogram, an increase of 450 VND to 600 VND per kilogram compared to the previous crop. With a productivity of 850kg, his family can earn about 2 million VND (88 USD) for every 0.1 ha.  

According to the Vĩnh Long  People’s Committee, because of salinisation, the rice production area has been reducing steadily.  In 2017 it was 168,805ha, a drop of 7,624 ha over 2016. But productivity has been high.

Meanwhile, traders and enterprises are facing difficulties in collecting rice due to limited supply.

Nguyen Thanh Nha, a trader in Can Tho city’s Thoi Lai district, said that he had to go to Kien Giang and An Giang provinces for two to three days to buy just 30 tonnes of fresh rice.

“For this crop, export companies order large quantities of rice at higher prices. However, it is hard to get enough rice at this time. We have to deposit money 15 to 20 days in advance, otherwise, farmers will sell the rice to other traders,” he said.

Nguyen Thi Kieu, deputy director of Can Tho city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, affirmed that rice prices were increasing because of limited supply. Simultaneously, in 2017, besides traditional markets like China, the province has signed several rice export contracts with news markets including Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Tran Ngoc Toan, another trader in Vinh Long province, said: “A month ago, the price was at 5,000 VND per kilogram, now, it is 5,400 to 5,600 VND. So many farmers are waiting for higher prices. Three days ago, I bought about 200 ha of rice at 5,600 VND per kilogram, but I could not collect anything yesterday.”

Nguyen Trung Tin, director of the Phan Minh Agricultural Company in Kien Giang province, said he was worried about the current situation.

“We are being challenged by the supply shortage. However, there is also a dilemma, since input prices and processing costs are rising higher than the rice prices,” he said.-VNA