Sweet potatoes for export in great abundance

Several farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces of Vinh Long, Dong Thap, and Can Tho City have suffered huge losses as export price of sweet potatoes had continuously dropped in the past few months.

Farmers collect sweet potatoes. (Photo: SGGP)

According to Mr. Son Van Luan, chairman of Tan Thanh Sweet Potato Cooperative in Vinh Long Province’s Binh Tan District, export price of sweet potatoes has been at low level since the beginning of this year, hence, most farmers did not take good care of their sweet potatoes fields, causing low productivity as well as poor quality. Therefore, traders only offered VND100,000-180,000 for 60 kilograms of sweet potatoes and VND200,000-240,000 for 60 kilograms of sweet potatoes of better quality. This is the lowest price level in the past years so most farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces have not earned any profits from growing sweet potatoes.
Mr. Luan said that export of sweet potatoes mainly depends on Chinese market. However, the export issue is extremely erratic in both price and volume. The price always drops when sweet potatoes are ready for harvest.
Currently, the area of sweet potatoes in provinces in the Mekong Delta is extremely large. Meanwhile, farmers cultivate sweet potatoes for three crops per annum, causing production to be excessive, soil to be exhausted, and more germs to appear.
Mr. Luan suggested that farmers should cooperate with cooperatives in cultivation of sweet potatoes for export. They should rotate crops to lessen germs and lower abundance of sweet potatoes so as to ensure their profits from growing sweet potatoes. For instance, they should grow sweet potatoes for only one crop in a year and grow rice or vegetables for the rest.

By Nguyen Thanh – Translated by Thuy Doan

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