Falling domestic and Chinese markets sees farmers land in debt and unsold bananas simply thrown away.
As the sales price of bananas steadily rose last year there were many farmers in northern Vinh Phuc province who took out loans to expand their orchards. Without notice, however, China ceased buying Vietnamese bananas so most of this year’s harvest was simply disposed of.
At the same China ceased buying Vietnamese bananas the domestic market also declined. Last year the sales price was VND130,000 to VND150,000 a bunch but is now VND20,000 to VND30,000, making it more economical for farmers to throw away their crop.
“We can’t sell them all and we can’t eat them all,” banana grower Ms. Nguyen Thi Luoc told local media. “We tried to feed local cattle with bananas they soon tired of them and wouldn’t eat any more.”
Vinh Phuc currently grows 300 ha of bananas, with output of more than 2,000 tonnes annually. Last year the price was extremely high and farmers did very well. This prompted many to borrow money to expand their growing area, but their efforts have only landed them in debt.
“Like many others, we borrowed money from the bank but now can’t even afford to pay the interest let along the principal,” said farmer Ms. Le Thi To.
Local authorities are at a loss at what to do. “We have been trying to improve the living conditions of people here but the price of bananas makes everyone’s life difficult,” Mr. Doan Xuan Tuan, Deputy Chairman of Lien Chau Commune People’s Committee told local media.