Nov 9, 2008

Cassava price hit after factory fire

Viet Nam News - Hanoi, Vietnam, 08-11-2008

QUANG NGAI — The Quang Ngai provincial People’s Committee deputy chairman, Truong Ngoc Nhi, is trying to save the price of cassava for farmers unable to sell their crop to the fire-damaged Tinh Phong Cassava Processing Factory.

The official has asked the management board of the damaged factory to store the cassava until processing can resume.If not, he wants the central province’s Dong Xuan Cassava Factory or the Son Hai Cassava Factory to take the crop. But the effort may be in vain.

As farmer Nguyen Thi Dao explains, she will have to sell her cassava to retailers for VND400,000 (US$23) per tonne – about half the price the processors pay – before it rots.

Hundreds of her fellow cassava growers are in the same plight. Their collective 11,000ha of crop is dedicated to the Tinh Phong Cassava Processing Factory which buys it for about VND900,000 ($53) per tonne.

Tinh Phong Cassava Processing Factory director Tran Ngoc Hai has undertaken to have the production line with its daily capacity of 100 tonnes repaired.

"But it would take at least two months for the factory to resume work," he said.

The fire, last Saturday, spoiled 50 tonnes of cassava flour and thousands of litres of oil before being put out.

Initial estimates put the damage at more than VND3 billion ($182,000).

More than 2,000 litres of the leaking oil has been mopped up and the provincial People’s Committee has ordered the factory’s management to clear the surrounds of the oil and cassava flour. — VNS

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