How COVID19 impact ByNature partner farms
The Covid 19 pandemic has been and is complicated all over the world in general; and Vietnam in particular. It has and continues to cause a significant impact on the economic production activities of the country, not least the agricultural production is also affected to a degree.
The production and cultivation are not greatly affected, the farmers keep farming, however, currently transportation is one of the main issues. Despite facing many difficulties, ByNature farmers are still optimistic and try to adapt to the situation to be more proactive in planting and harvesting fresh all-natural produce.
By talking with one of our farm partner farms, ByNature had the opportunity to understand the difficulties, hardship and even the immense efforts by our partner farmers. They remain optimistic and have faith that one day not far away, agricultural activities will return to normal, bustling and full of laughter like before.
Farming, cultivation and consumption of produce activities
At present, our farmers still maintain normal cultivation and planting according to the set production plan.
Fortunately, the planting and harvesting are still going smoothly. After each crop, the seeds will be carefully selected by our farmers to keep as seeds and plant for the following seasons. Moreover, ByNature farmers mainly use local seeds and plants, so that the supply of seeds and plants is not a big concern at the farm. Farmers still plant short-term crops as planned and continue to take care of perennial crops to wait for the harvest, so production activities are still relatively normal.
According to the Government’s directive to tighten social distancing, inter-provincial transportation of goods is much more difficult and takes longer than before. For produce that can not be transported to other provinces for consumption, especially short-term agricultural products such as leafy greens and some vegetables are consumed by people locally. Thereby, the output from the farms are not affected too much by the temporary suspension of transporting goods to other provinces. This is great news for the farmers and the local population, but not so much for the needs that are rising in the cities.
One ByNature partner farm
Prices remain stable
Although transportation costs have increased and operating costs are also higher than before, our farmers still maintain a stable price to ensure produce that comes to consumers at the most stable and affordable prices. At ByNature we are thankful for this as it allows us to keep the same prices to our customers for the time being.
The difficulties for our partner farmers
Shipping takes longer than before, so delivery and harvest times must be flexible to ensure supply. Sometimes they have to get up very early to harvest agricultural products. There are days, the transportation schedule changes, farmers even have to harvest at 2 am to send to Ho Chi Minh City at 6 am.
When asked what they did to overcome the difficulties during this period, they just smiled and said: “We only try and work hard, diligently with each harvest and each delivery to ensure the arrival of produce to our consumers’ hands are always the earliest and freshest”.
What problems does the cooperative face?
Ms. Ngan – a member of the cooperative said, “One of the biggest difficulties at the moment is in the stage of gathering produce from the farms, the time to receive produce from the farms changes constantly and is delayed all the time at the moment. Transport times increase the rate of damaged and waterlogged agricultural products up to 30% more than before ultimately resulting in a loss for the individual farmer. Instead of 4 hours, it takes about 12 hours to reach Ho Chi Minh City. The cost of transporting from the farm to Ho Chi Minh City also increased by 3-4 times compared to before the pandemic.
In addition, the stage of operation and preliminary processing of produce also changes according to the delivery time. The cost of materials and packaging also almost doubled compared to pre-COVID days.”
How the cooperative support farmers at this difficult time
The Cooperatives promote the role of regulating and guiding production and planting activities through allocating specific agricultural production plans to the farm, choosing which kinds of produce is suitable for each period to ensure that they are suitable for each time, ensuring output and in the end ensuring farmers still have an income.
In addition, in order for goods to be circulated and consumed, the cooperative also supports and bears almost 100% of the transportation costs from the farm to Ho Chi Minh City to consume the products, although the cost has increased tremendously.
“It’s so difficult, it’s so hard, but the farmers are always diligent and wholeheartedly taking care of the products and each shipment that is sent, there is the hope, the joy and the motivation for them to continue trying. They are still confident and optimistic about the future ahead, waiting for a day when the epidemic is controlled so that agricultural activities can return to normal, so that the farms are still green and lush, putting a happy smile on each farmer on harvest day.”
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