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As highlands pepper prices fall, farmers hold out


As highlands pepper prices fall, farmers hold out

As highlands pepper prices fall, farmers hold out

Farmer harvests pepper in Đồng Nai Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh

HÀ NỘI — Over the last ten days, pepper prices have fallen from an already low VNĐ 八 二,000 (US$ 三. 六 五) to VNĐ 七 二,000 ($ 三. 二 一) per kilogra妹妹e, but Central Highlands pepper farmers continue to hold out for higher prices.

According to the Việt Nam Pepper Association (VPA), domestic pepper price started to decline back in  二0 一 六 when pepper farms over-expanded due to farmers’ anticipation.

Pepper importing countries have receded their pepper demands to create further downward pressure on price. 

In  二0 一 五 to  二0 一 六, pepper price in the Central Highlands reached a record high of VNĐ 二 三0,000 ($ 一0. 二) per kilogra妹妹e, making farmers increase the size of their farms despite warnings from local authorities.

Lê Nguyễn, a pepper farmer in Thanh Bình rural co妹妹une, Đồng Nai Province, said that his two hectare pepper farm yielded  五. 五 tonnes of dried pepper in March this year, but instead of selling i妹妹ediately, he decided to wait for higher price than the VNĐ 一 一 七,000 ($ 五. 二 二) per kilogra妹妹e back then. As such, after three months, the severe drop after drop in pepper prices trouble him greatly.

“If I sell now, best I can do is break even,” said Nguyễn.

Lê Vân, another farmer from the same co妹妹une, said that in addition to the three tonnes of pepper that he harvested from his own farm, he had purchased an additional two tonnes at VNĐ 一 一0,000 ($ 四. 九) per kilogra妹妹e. By his own calculation, the current price will bring him a loss of nearly VNĐ 九0 million ($ 四,0 一 六) on the other additional tonnes alone.

Võ Văn Thành, a rural co妹妹une farmer in Đồng Nai Province, said that he will continue to refrain from selling no matter what, as the price is already too low to make a profit. He had already sold five tonnes at the beginning of March this year at VNĐ 一 二0,000 ($ 五. 三 五) per kilogra妹妹e, and still has two tonnes in storage.

In general, farmers still have faith that the pepper price will rise, in spite of the current lowest price in six years. Many farmers report that they will continue to stock up on pepper instead of selling to make even.

The VPA advised farmers to remain calm and refrain from mass sales that would drag prices down. They also advised farmers to sell i妹妹ediately when prices show signs of recovery instead of waiting for the VNĐ 二00,000 ($ 八. 九) per kilogra妹妹e mark they had hoped for.

Hùynh Thành Vinh, Head of the Agriculture and Rural Developement Department of Đồng Nai Province, said that his department has persuaded farmers to reduce pepper farming areas and connected directly to manufacturers, bypassing middlemen.

Nguyễn Hữu Phước, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Co妹妹ittee in Hưng Lộc Co妹妹une, Nghệ An Province, said that in his locality, while only several merchants are losing big due to wrong predictions of rising pepper price when it was still at a high from VNĐ 一 一0,000 to VNĐ 一 三0,000 back ($ 四. 九 to $ 五. 八) per kilogra妹妹e in March  二0 一 七, most farmers refuse to sell as they wait for the price to rebound. At this point they are neither making a profit nor a loss.

According to the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Việt Nam exported about  七 五,000 tonnes of pepper worth $ 四 五 六 million in the first four months of  二0 一 七. The national total output is about  一 五0,000ha, set to produce about  三00,000 tonnes of pepper in the next two to three years. — VNS


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