Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta have lost millions of dollars this year because of a shortage of large-scale rice- drying machines, agricultural officials have said. The region currently needs 15,000 to 16,000 rice dryers for post- harvest processing.
The shortage of dryers has led to a loss of three per cent of the total output of the summer-autumn crop, or 120,000 tonnes of paddy. The loss is estimated at VND180 billion (US$12 million).
Many communes with large rice fields of 1,000 to 1,500 hectares have only one or two rice dryers.
Besides large-scale drying machines, the rice crop has been hampered by prolonged flooding and a lack of sufficient ground space for drying.
Most local farmers must use traditional methods like drying the rice on the ground or storing it in earthen pots, which frequently leads to spoilage because of humid weather.
The Delta provinces of Can Tho, An Giang, Kien Giang and Soc Trang each have 600 to 1,000 rice dryers, which meets 35 to 40 per cent of the demand for drying summer-autumn rice.
Delta provincial authorities have asked the Government to sell rice dryers to local farmers at subsidised prices or through an installment policy.
The delta produces 17.6 million tonnes of unhusked rice annually, of which 7 million tonnes are exported.
The region’s rice export accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s total rice exports.
VNS - (23/11/2004)