Agribank furthers growth of thriving rural areas

February 05, 2024 | 17:02
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Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) has made great contributions to the success of their customers and brought development and prosperity to Vietnam’s farthest corners.

Nguyen Huu Huy and Luong Thi Toan moved from Hung Yen province to the mountainous province of Dien Bien back in 1995. Of their three children, one is now studying at a university, one is at a senior secondary school, and their eldest is married and working for a state agency.

Their private firm, Huy Toan Co., Ltd. has been operating primarily in growing speciality fruit trees such as guavas, green-skin grapefruits, and raising pigs and chickens over a total area surpassing 13 hectares. The company employs about 40 employees, regular and seasonal workers.

Agribank furthers growth of thriving rural areas
Nguyen Trung Kien (left), director, Agribank, Dien Bien, and Nguyen Thi Phuong, deputy CEO, Agribank

As an example of the couple's devotion to their trade, the green-skin grapefruit trees are cared for with organic and micro fertilisers to ensure the quality of the harvest. As such, the fruit is juicy with a mild sweet and sour taste, and almost seedless.

“My family has also been experimenting with allowing the chickens to listen to soothing music at certain times of the day, and the results have been beyond expectations,” Toan said.

“The egg output has been stable. 15,000 free-range chickens generate 500 eggs per day, while the same amount of cooped chickens generate 1,000 eggs per day, while caged chickens that listen to music generate 1,300 eggs per day,” he added.

Along with the cost of providing music for the chickens, the family incurs additional charges such as cooling systems for the henhouses and deodorising systems for the 1,500 poultry chickens, plus one tonne of chicken feed a day. On average, raising a chicken costs about VND200,000 ($8.40) per month.

“Our company needs a stable and long-term money stream to keep afloat with the ever-growing business needs. Luckily, we have had Agribank’s Dien Bien branch as a partner right from the start,” said Toan.

Nguyen Trung Kien, director of Agribank’s Dien Bien branch, said that the couple's business first developed credit relations with their branch back in 2009.

Initially, the loan amount was around $84,400. Lending more than tripled last year, surpassing $380,000 to meet the expansion needs of the business.

“After 14 years, the company’s scale has grown immensely, and now encompasses a livestock farm and an orchard kitted out with a cutting-edge irrigation system, one of the most modern systems in the province valued more than $2.5 million. We, as a bank, are truly proud to have accompanied Huy Toan's family since the early days of their business," said Kien.

On a chilly winter's day in late December, Hoang Van Thuan, director of Thuan Lanh Cooperative, based in Tien Lang district in the northern port city of Haiphong, dressed in a mere thin shirt and a light jacket, quickly lined up boxes of agricultural products, packing them and shipping them out.

Thuan said that he incurred nearly $550,000 in losses for the period from October 2022 to August 2023 due to a nosedive in the price of chickens. The company consists of 50 chicken farms raising more than 43,000 chickens. Since the price improved this year, the losses have been reduced.

Agribank furthers growth of thriving rural areas
A farmer at the Thuan Lanh Cooperative

“After 11 months working as a state employee, I decided to leave my job in 2013, and embraced the animal feed business, taking a loan approximating $17,000 from Agribank, Tien Lang branch," Thuan added.

Besides raising poultry chickens, the cooperative has also embraced growing vegetables.

“Production costs of chillis come to about $0.29 per kg. With the current selling price around $1.60 per kg, one acre yields about 7–8 tonnes of grade A chilli, delivering a profit of $840,” he added.

Today, the cooperative comprises more than 8,000 farmer households from Tien Thanh and Khoi Nghia communes.

“Without Agribank’s support, I would be unable to take care of myself, let alone others,” said Thuan.

The farmers contribute their fields, and care for the products, while the cooperative provides seeds, fertilisers, skills training, and provides a route to market at a fair price.

“Without Agribank’s support, I would be unable to take care of myself, let alone others,” said Thuan.

Sharing the love for the agriculture business is Pham Van Nhieu and his family, also living in Haiphong’s Tien Lang district.

Nhieu took a loan out approximating $400 back in 1992 to raise fish. After undergoing myriad hardships, Nhieu’s family is currently known as providing the first successful sturgeon-raising model in Tien Lang.

His farm now consists of 128 fish cages, with feed spending coming to at least $1,680 per day. Therefore, aside from using his own savings, Nhieu continues to borrow from Agribank Tien Lang branch, and the outstanding balance currently exceeds $500,000.

“Our business now has 22 regular labourers. The monthly income of a newcomer is about $250, and the highest income comes to $630. Our total income approximates $2.1 million annually. With the current price for one kg of sturgeons reaching $9.20, our revenue over the Lunar New Year period is expected to be a decent sum,” said Nhieu.

Agribank: Towards thriving life across Vietnam’s rural areas (PR)
Nguyen Thi Thom, director of Agribank Tien Lang at a sturgeon farm

On the way back to Haiphong city, our car passed by a beautiful villa, Agribank Tien Lang’s director, Nguyen Thi Thom, identified it as the house of Hoang Van Thuan, the director of Thuan Lanh Cooperative.

Thom recalled that Thuan's family faced turbulent times in early 2023 when their two sturgeon farms were hit hard by flooding and losses surpassed $1.13 million. Agribank offered swift support by slashing interest rates, rescheduling the loans, and finding ways to boost sales.

“Being a partner to our customers means sharing their tears as well as joys, which is the linchpin of deepening our ties to our loyal customers like Toan, Nhieu and Thuan, We are committed to being dedicated advocates behind the success of our customers,” said Thom.

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