Farmers feed ducks and buffaloes with watermelons
VietNamNet Bridge – Farmers in the central province of Quang Ngai cannot sell their watermelons, and end up feeding the unsold fruit to cattle and poultry.
This year, farmers in Son Tinh District planted 200 hectares of watermelons, harvesting 40 tons per hectare. However, while watermelons are ripening, the growers have sold off about 120 hectares worth. The rest areas are unsalable because traders have suddenly stop buying or, in some cases, are offering the extremely low purchase price of VND1,000/kg.
Ms. Dinh Thi Thu, a farmer in Thanh Phu Village, says that her family has harvested only 50 percent of their 1,200sq.m of watermelon fields. The remaining fruit is beginning to crack and rot in the fields. "Last week traders told us that watermelon trucks were stuck at the border gate. This week they complained that the state authorities were weighing trucks, so that they could not make a profit from watermelons. So they offered us merely VND500 to VND1,000 ($0.025-0.05) per kilo," Thu says.
After harvesting over 30 tons of watermelons, Mr. Dang Quang Anh in My Anh Village feels like he’s sitting on fire because he cannot contact the trader who deposited VND2 million ($100). "We were happy to have a good watermelon harvest, but now we are in misery because traders unexpectedly stopped purchasing our products. Several days ago they told us that the state had begun weighing trucks. They had to pay more for transport services so their profit was slimmed to the point that they had to stop buying watermelons,” Anh says.
Farmers do not know what to do with the ripe melons other than turning them into animal feed. “By eating too much watermelon, many buffalo and cows end up with diarrhea,” says Mr. Phan Duy Khanh, Chair of Tinh Tra Sommune, Son Tinh District.
According to Khanh, dozens of households in Tinh Tra Commune have used at least 750 tons of fruit as animal feed.
Cattle are fed with ripe watermelons weighing from 3 to 7kg each.
Mr. Dinh Van Thao in Tinh Tra Commune cuts watermelons of over 6kg in weight to feed his cows.
Watermelons are piled up high in the courtyards of many houses in Son Tinh District.
A trader explained the predicament from his end: "Last week my truck carried about 40 tons of watermelons from Quang Ngai to China. But now, when trucks are weighed, I can only transport 27 tons of melons per trip. This means the higher transport costs so I have to slash offering prices.”
“On the other hand,” he added, “farmers must accept selling melons at these low prices because they cannot afford to keep the fruit.".