After Tien Giang Province asked local enterprises to suspend their model of “on-site production, on-site living and eating and on-site breaks”, many enterprises have proposed functional authorities allow them to continue operating as long as they meet COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
President of the Vinh Hoan Corporation Truong Thi Le Khanh said if her company is forced into full suspension, it will result in significant losses to the company and disrupt the supply chain as grown catfish are unable to be sold while the company still has to pay its debts and other costs. The company also stands the risk of having to compensate for contracts it is unable to fulfil.
Khanh suggested that enterprises that properly implement COVID-19 prevention guidelines are allowed continue operating so as to reduce their losses due to disruptions to both production and supply chains. It is also a way to retain workers, customers as well as make a contribution to pandemic prevention efforts.
Le Van Quyet, Director of the Long Thanh Phat Agricultural Cooperative in Dong Nai Province, said the cooperative is struggling to sell its fowl as they need to be slaughtered before being put on the market but most slaughterhouses are now closed due to the pandemic. He said that if the situation continues, animal farmers will be plunged into enormous difficulty with great losses and an inability to rebuild their herds.
According to the Dong Nai Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the province ships around 100,000 chickens per day, of which only 5% are consumed within the province while 95% go to the Ho Chi Minh City market and other provinces. Therefore, Quyet suggested considering slaughterhouse workers as a frontline force to be given early vaccination so as to maintain the production chain.
The seafood industry in 19 southern provinces and cities is also facing difficulty as its output is now much larger than demand due to the closure of restaurants, hotels and factory canteens. Support for the production and sale of agricultural produce is urgently needed so as to maintain domestic supply chains and ensure there are sufficient goods for export. However, if production continues to be disrupted, many seafood processors and exporters will be unable to fulfil their orders, which could result in market loss in the future, said Do Lap Nghiep, Chairman of the Nam Viet Corporation, a catfish exporter based in An Giang Province.
Amid increasing difficulties facing agricultural enterprises, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said a working group is working around the clock to address inquiries from enterprises about production, circulation and selling. The working group has asked provincial agriculture departments to promptly deal with obstacles to enterprises and unify administrative requirements on documents and testing to be presented at checkpoints. It is also looking into a proposal to vaccinate workers at food production and processing facilities.