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Poultry farmers worry about bank interests in wake of bird flu

by 5m Editor
27 March 2004, at 12:00am

VIETNAM - Mekong delta poultry farmers who suffered heavy economic losses triggered by the bird flu outbreak are worrying about their bank debts whilst assistance from the State falls short of expectations.

Poultry farmers worry about bank interests in wake of bird flu - VIET NAM - Mekong delta poultry farmers who suffered heavy economic losses triggered by the bird flu outbreak are worrying about their bank debts whilst assistance from the State falls short of expectations.

Pham Van Tam, a poultry farmer from the city of My Tho, confided that his debts with the bank, stock and feed suppliers had been mounting.

"After suffering heavy damage because of the bird flu, dealing with the bank’s monthly interest payments is impossible while I am in debt to the feed agency and stock supplier," he said.

Following the order of provincial authorities, Tam culled 3,000 of his chickens on January 13. More than two months later, he has yet to receive any financial assistance from the State.

Nguyen Van Man, a farmer from Phong Thuan village who destroyed 8,000 chickens, is facing a similar situation. Man owed 100 million VND (6,300 USD), 45 million VND of which he borrowed from Tien Giang province’s Bank for Investment and Development to start his business many years ago.

For the past four months, his interest payments have still been expected whilst his poultry income has been nil.

Man's peers in Tien Giang province are suffering the same fate.

A provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development official said 90 percent of poultry households have had to borrow with interest rates from the banks at some point.

Deputy director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Bank’s branch in Tien Giang, Nguyen Thi Mong Thu, said 432 households borrowed a total of 9.9 billion VND (roughtly 627,000 USD).

Without a specific State policy, farmers had still been required to pay interest rates on their loans since the bird flu was discovered last December.

"We expect the State will suspend their debt payments but the bank is still waiting for a policy from the State," said Thu.

A total of three million poultry were culled in the Tien Giang province because of the avian flu.

The State plans to hand over 25 billion VND (1.6 million USD) in assistance to poultry breeders in the province.

However, Cao Van Hoa, deputy chairman of the provincial anti-epidemic committee, said the province had so far disbursed only 3 billion VND.

He said payment was slow to be disbursed because the province had to spend much of its time on paperwork, clarifying procedures and compiling information to form assistance policies.

Soc Trang Province’s Animal Health Department deputy chairman Nguyen Huu Minh said earlier this month the provincial people’s committee had decided to help poultry farmers with 900 million VND (around 57,000 USD) in assistance.

However, whilst seven out of nine districts in the province have completed procedures to give assistance to poultry farmers, authorities in the other two have failed to account for all small breeders.

Mai Van Hiep, director of Ben Tre Province’s anti-bird flu epidemic committee, said one of the reasons assistance had been delayed was that they had discovered some district authorities had made mistakes in listing affected breeders and the number of culled poultry.

"We know that most large and medium-scale poultry producers are suffering debts, even coping with poverty, but the committee will delay assistance until the situation is thoroughly examined," he said. Source: Viet Nam News Agency - 27th March 2004

5m Editor