Farmers Sell Cows As Milk Price Declines

VIET NAM - Dairy farmers in the southern region of Viet Nam are been forced to sell their herds as the strain of high production costs and low milk prices take their toll.
calendar icon 29 December 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Those who have lived on dairy farming for the last 10 years have reported that while selling milk cows means that they lose their families’ income, they have no other choice. According to VietNamNetBridge, they have run out of capital.

A small merchant, Mr Kiem, noted that previously farmers only sold old cows or the ones that produced small amounts of milk. Now even cows that produce a lot of milk are also being sold.

Previously, a good milk cow brought 27-29 million dong, but now they are selling at only 20 million dong. If a cow is sold to a slaughterhouse, the owner gets just 15-17 million dong.

“If they are selling cows now, farmers lose 4-6 million dong a cow at least,” Mr Kiem revealed.

Milk cows once fed thousands of families in the southern region, but now they cannot. Many farmers do not know what to do with their herds. They do not want to sell, but they do not have the money to retain them.

Nguyen Van Ut, a Long An farmer, explained that his family has 10 milk cows, but only two bring 100-120 kilograms of milk a day. Ut has to spend 700,000 dong a day for the herd of cows, while the milk price has been staying low at 6,400-6,800 dong per kilo.

“I have been suffering losses for a long time. But I try to keep breeding them. What will I do if I do not have the cows any more?” he worried.

Nguyen Van Tui from the HCM City Farmers’ Association maintained that the association has called on dairy producers many times to raise milk prices in order to ensure profits, but the situation has not improved.

In theory, farmers can sell high quality fresh milk at up to 7,500-7,700 dong per kilo. Most farmers say they cannot sell milk at that price and dairy producers only purchase milk at low prices.

Mr Nhuan, a farmer in HCM City, related that the milk price was relatively high because a Singapore company offered 8,000 dong per kilo. At that time, big farms earned fat profits, about two million dong per day. Other dairy producers, who were trying to compete with the Singaporean company in collecting materials, also raised milk prices.

When the Singapore company withdrew, other dairy producers who had no rival anymore, forced the price down and left no profit for farmers.

There are three enterprises that collect milk from farmers of HCM City -Binh Duong – Long An, including Vinamilk, Frieslandcampina Vietnam (Dutch Lady brand products) and Vixumilk.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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