Chilli prices drop sharply
According to the farmers, bird’s eye chilli prices were VND120,000 (USD5) to VND150,000 per kilo before Tet Holiday. But now the prices have dropped to VND11,000 to VND12,000. While cayenne pepper prices dropped from VND7,000-8,000 to VND3,000-5,000 per kilo.
67-year-old Duong Thi Hang said, “We’re already used to the situation when the prices drop during bountiful harvests. We’re just sad that our effort is not rewarded.”
She went on to say that the cost to set up a 500-square-metres chilli garden is about VND2.5m (USD108), not including the expenses on pesticide. By the harvest season, each garden would cost at least VND4m. Then they have to spend VND5.5m to VND6m to hire people to pick the chillies.
The farmers in Binh Dinh depend greatly on their biggest buyer, China. However, the market is volatile. According to a trader, during a peak season, they transported 50-60 tonnes of chilli to China a night. But as demand from China dropped, they have struggled to find a new outlet.
Tran Minh Tuan, head of Phu My District Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the farmers in Phu My grew 1,262ha of chilli this spring, 29ha larger than the previous year. Thanks to favourable weather, they harvested 1-1.5 tonnes of chilli per 500-square-metre garden.
Tuan said the prices were so unstable because the farmers couldn’t find a reliable distribution company yet. They are mostly dependent on traders who export produce to China via border gates.
“We’ll consult on suitable solutions with the district authorities to help the farmers. In the long-term, the farmers need to work more closely with distribution firms and the authorities should issue support policies for chilli exported through official channels,” he said.