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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: Shrimp farmers sell land as debts mount  (อ่าน 2225 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: มกราคม 06, 2009, 03:02:18 PM »

Source: Thanh Nien News                                     World News    5/01/2009 21:41:36

Tran Thanh Phong

Many shrimp farmers in the Mekong Delta are selling their land, unable to cope with the mounting debt caused by consecutive poor harvests.

 

Huynh Van Gan of Bac Lieu Province said the tiger prawn used to bring huge profits to farmers, helping many escape poverty with just one successful harvest.

 

“But now many of them have to sell their buffaloes, their farmland and even their houses to repay debts.

 

“That’s why it has been said that tiger prawns are gluttons because farmers have to sell everything they own to feed the prawns.”

 

With 1.7 hectares of shrimp ponds, after five successive harvest failures, Gan said his debt already totaled VND300 million (US$17,140), including VND58 million in bank loans, VND150 million owed to feed suppliers and VND70 million owed to loan sharks.

 

As a result, he’s had to put his land up for sale last year, but nobody wants to buy the land knowing that it has been taken as collateral against bank loans.

 

Gan said now he still has the large ponds, but no money to continue farming shrimp.

 

Tran Van Thong, chairman of Vinh Hau A Commune People’s Committee, said local shrimp farmers could not achieve high output, so they suffered huge losses and had to borrow a lot of money from banks.

 

The total outstanding loans of shrimp farmers in the commune have reached VND60 billion, 77 percent of which are non-performing, he said.

 

Life in the commune, where most people earn their living by farming tiger prawns, is now really hard, Thong said, noting that more than 1,000 residents have had to leave their homes to look for new jobs.

 

Nguyen Van Canh, another shrimp farmer in Bac Lieu Town, said his three children had to drop out of school to work in industrial parks in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces so that they could help him repay debts of more than VND100 million.

 

Le Cong Thanh, head of Giong Tra Hamlet in the commune, said most young people in the hamlet have left for new jobs, leaving behind the elderly and the children.

 

There are 193 families in the hamlet and 171 of them cannot repay their bank loans, Thanh said.

 

Nguyen Van Luon said he has been brought to court three times for not paying his bank loan, including interest, of VND150 million after five years.

 

Luon said if the situation worsens, the bank would take his land, which is also the only property he has now.

 

Many shrimp farmers in Bac Lieu and other Mekong Delta provinces said they are waiting for support from the authorities and exporters.

 

But the downstream situation is not much better as businesses in the seafood sector are facing their own difficulties.

 

Tran Thien Hai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said last month that with demand falling in Vietnam’s major shrimp export markets such as the US and Japan, many companies have had to cut production.

 

Vietnam’s seafood exports are expected to fall 15-20 percent in value this year, with the two main products - shrimp and tra fish - being the hardest hit, Vietnam Economic Times reported recently, citing VASEP figures.


Source or related URL: http://www.thanhniennews.com

 
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