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Mekong farmers ignore gov't machinery subsidies

  • 16/08/2011

HA NOI — Farmers in the southern region have shown little interest in borrowing capital under a programme designed to help them purchase agricultural machinery, the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development has said.
The subsidised Government loan programme went into effect last year in a move designed to push for industrialisation and modernisation in rural areas.
Deputy director Doan Xuan Hoa of the ministry's department of trade and processing of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and salt said that the programme targeted farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the heart of the country's rice farming region.
Under the programme, farmers would not have to pay any interest during the first two and a half years of their loans.
However, implementation of the programme had been slow and the number of farmers who had taken advantage of the preferential loans remained limited, he said.
Director of the Ca Mau Province branch of the Viet Nam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) Ly Nam Hai told Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that the programme wasn't as effective as expected because the products offered in domestic machinery catalogues did not meet farmer demands.
"Farmers sighed in disappointment when they saw the list of eligible products. They are not in demand," he said.
Director of Tien Giang Province's Agribank branch Kieu Manh Minh agreed, saying that few farmers had taken out the loans although there were hundreds of billions of dong in the bank waiting to be used for the purchase of agricultural equipment.
Hai Be, a farmer in Lac Tan Commune, Long An Province, where local residents earn their living farming rice, said none of the combined harvesters in the catalogues satisfied him.
"I have used a machine made-in-China, but I always have trouble with it. I need a good-quality machine to serve my 10ha of rice," he said.
Vice chairman Tran Hoai Bao of the Moc Hoa District People's Committee said most local farmers needed good-quality combined harvesters and the poor quality of domestically-made products failed to meet their demands.
They preferred imported machines, especially those from Japan, he said.
According to Hoa, deputy director of the ministry's Department of Trade and processing of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and salt, the ministry would work with the banks to make the programme more suitable with farmer demands. — VNS

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