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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: Vietnam; Hard Times at the Vinh Hau A Shrimp Commune  (อ่าน 2388 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: มกราคม 17, 2009, 01:17:20 PM »

Vietnam; Hard Times at the Vinh Hau A Shrimp Commune

 
Many shrimp farmers in the Mekong Delta are selling their land, unable to cope with the mounting debt caused by several poor harvests in a row.  Tran Van Thong, chairman of the Vinh Hau A Commune People’s Committee, says local shrimp farmers could not achieve high output, suffered huge losses and had to borrow a lot of money from banks.  The total outstanding loans at the commune, 77 percent of which are non-performing, have reached $3.5 million.  Now, life at the commune, where most people earn their living farming shrimp, is really hard, Thong said, noting that more than 1,000 residents have had to leave their homes to look for new jobs.
 
Huynh Van Gan of Bac Lieu Province said tiger shrimp used to bring huge profits to farmers, helping many escape poverty with just one successful harvest.  But now, he says, “Many of them have had to sell their buffaloes, their farmland and even their houses to repay debts.”  He calls tiger shrimp “gluttons” because farmers have to sell everything they own to feed them.  After five harvest failures, Gan, with 1.7 hectares of shrimp ponds, said his debt totaled $17,140 to banks, feed companies and loan sharks.  As a result, he had to put his land up for sale last year, but nobody would buy the land because the potential buyers knew that it had been used as collateral for bank loans.  Gan said he still has some large ponds, but no money to continue farming shrimp.
 
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 $5,700.
 
Le Cong Thanh, head of Giong Tra Hamlet in the commune, said most young people 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.
 
Many shrimp farmers in Bac Lieu and other Mekong Delta provinces said they are waiting for support from the government and exporters.  The exporters, however, are not expected to be much help because they have their own financial problems.
 
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 USA and Japan, many companies have had to cut production.
 
Source: ThanhnienNews.com.  Shrimp farmers sell land as debts mount.  Tran Thanh Phong.  January 5, 2009.
 
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