Central Highlands farm products seek markets

The Central Highlands has over 5 million hectares of agricultural land. The agricultural development here has many advantages, but the situation of “bumper crops, low prices” and “bad harvest, high prices” occurs in many places. Sometimes, agricultural products even face stagnancy in consumption.
Central Highlands farm products seek markets ảnh 1 Durian grown in Dak Lak Province has been approved for official import by China. (Photo: SGGP)
Struggling to convert crops

Pham Tri Do, a farmer in Quang Tien Commune in Cu M'gar District in Dak Lak Province, has 7,000 square meters of South American banana plants ready for harvest. However, he did not harvest bananas but went to Buon Ma Thuot City to work as a worker. He said he abandoned his banana plantation because traders disparaged his products to lower the buying prices and even declined to buy his products. He then sold bananas at local markets to recover investment capital, but the price was too low, not enough to cover travel expenses. “Earlier, I grew coffee, but the yield was low. My coffee trees were old, and coffee prices stood at a low level for many years. Therefore, in 2019, my family chopped down coffee trees to switch to growing passion fruit. Unfortunately, passion fruit prices also fell drastically, so I got a loan to switch to growing South American bananas. Banana cultivation has also failed, and debts are piled up, so I have to work as a worker to earn money to get by," Do lamented.

Not only Do's family but many farmers in Dak Lak Province also suffered because their agricultural products cannot be sold. Mr. Huynh Ngoc Duong, Deputy Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Dak Lak Province, said that over the past time, the export prices of agricultural products in the province had been unstable and falling or forced to sell at low prices.

In Chu Se District, Gia Lai Province, the consumption of agricultural products is a problem in the locality. According to Mr. Nguyen Van Hop, Head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Chu Se District, the local cultivated area is about 36,000 hectares, of which, industrial crops, such as coffee, black pepper, and rubber, account for more than 20,000 hectares. In recent years, the situation of “good harvest, low prices” and “bad harvest, high prices” along with pests and diseases on crops has affected the lives of farmers. Besides, the biggest difficulty for agricultural production is consumption because there are only a few enterprises associated with farmers to purchase farm produce.

In Dak Nong Province, according to the assessment, besides many achievements, local agricultural production also has limitations. Agricultural products are mainly consumed raw, go through many intermediaries, and lack links in the value chain.

Improving product quality

How to solve the consumption of agricultural products and help agriculture develop sustainably is the problem that needs to be solved by Central Highlands provinces. Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Giao, Head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Cu M'gar District in Dak Lak Province, said that the local authorities were rebuilding the planning map of soil and growing areas for crops. Thereby, the district will build appropriate planting areas to develop each type of agricultural crop. It also orients farmers to focus on organic agricultural production, improving quality to meet the market's criteria.

Dak Nong Provincial People's Committee said it would gather resources to implement many groups of solutions, such as developing high-tech agriculture, forming concentrated production material growing areas to improve productivity and quality, and focusing on building brands, trademarks, growing areas, geographical indications, traceability, and e-commerce promotion to develop and expand the consumption market for agricultural products in terms of quantity and value.

According to Dr. Phan Viet Ha, Deputy Director of the Western Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute, farmers need to comply with the planning of the authorities and should not follow the market, changing crops arbitrarily, leading to excess supply. In addition, it is necessary to change the thinking of farming, apply science and technology to agricultural production, and change crop varieties. Farmers need to aim at organic production models to improve product quality.

Dr. Phan Viet Ha suggested that authorities orient the market and production for farmers, as well as determine the cultivation area for each type of crop; timely give recommendations and warnings for each region and each locality when the growing area tends to exceed the threshold; expand, develop, and seek stable markets for agricultural products; call on investors to focus on investing in deep processing of local agricultural products to improve product value.

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