Never in any winter-spring in the Mekong Delta have the farmers been as jubilant as this year because the rice has cropped well and its price is going sky-high.
Currently, prices of fresh long-grain rice varieties such as Dai Thom 8, OM5451, and OM18 are at a rate between VND 6,600 and 7,000 per kilogram as purchased by the traders right on the field, while IR50404 VND 6,400 – 6,500 per kilogram. In general, agreed prices are VND 800 – 1,000 per kilogram higher than those of 2019-2020 winter–spring.
Mr. Tran Van Na, a farmer in Dong Thap Province, could not be happier that he sold his OM18 rice, which produced 1.2 tons per 1.300m2, at VND 6,700 per kilogram after harvesting from his planted area of 2.5 hectares before Tet Holiday. He hoped this price would remain so that the farmers’ lives would get better. Another farmer in Can Tho, Mr. Cao Van Hoang believed he would earn a profit of VND 3.5 – 4 million per hectare by the end of the season as he expected an increase in the price of the 2020–2021 winter–spring rice. Meanwhile, Mr. Le Van Hau, living in the same commune as Mr. Na does, cried over his decision to sell the same variety at VND 6,500 per kilogram, although he had never sold his product at this rate before, as he lost VND 200 for each kilogram for being unable to foresee its rise.
According to traders, rice prices keep on increasing as there is no rice left to buy.
The production of 2020–2021 winter–spring rice commenced as early as possible to avoid drought and salinity at the end of the season. As a result, as soon as the Tet celebration is over, farmers in multiple regions could begin to harvest.
Fortunately, despite the unseasonal rainfall in parts of the Delta before Tet Holiday, no disease outbreak happened, rice grew well, and its price has gone up. The farmers thus resumed their work even when the Holiday is not over. As early as on the 3rd and 4th days of the Lunar New Year, some farmers already got back in their fields to protect their plants, as could be seen along the Lo Te – Rach Soi Expressway, or in such key rice farming areas as Tan Hiep (Kien Giang) and Vinh Thanh (Can Tho).
Farmer Nguyen Van An, living in Tan Hiep, was with his children in their 3-hectare field where rice is at the ripening phase when he happily said: it was only days before winter-spring rice can be harvested, so we must take very good care of it. Looking at the yellow maturing plants, he was confident that he would have a bumper crop this year, and expected traders to purchase at a high rate of VND 6,300 – 7,000 per kilogram, which would promise farmers a successful harvest season with large income.
Mr. Le Huu Toan, Deputy Director of Kien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said for this season, farmers in the province had sown over 284,000 hectares of fields, exceeding targets set. Due to this early sowing, in many regions, farmers could complete harvesting even before Tet. For example, in Upper U Minh, the harvest can be done in early February, while on the West bank of the Hau River in mid-March, and in the Long Xuyen Quadrangle end of the month.
In order to ensure the production, before and after Tet, groups of experts paid visits to key rice farming areas. They encouraged farmers to take care of their fields and gave them advice, especially on how to store fresh water for areas prone to drought and salinity intrusion, to have water for irrigation, and to avoid any damage.
Mr. Phong and many other farmers who are preparing to harvest winter-spring rice really hope that the price will be stable so that the paddy harvesting and consumption are favorable, and agreements between farmers and traders will not fall through.
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