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Ministry scrutinises farm costs, local ‘contributions’
12 | 06 | 2007
The Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry pledged yesterday to re-examine the fees Vietnamese farmers shell out for power, water, roads and other local projects.

The plan, which was announced during a workshop in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, follows the release of a study that shows some farmers are over-burdened by fees, known locally as ‘contributions’.

The survey found that in addition to roughly 100 separate fees, some farmers are required to make up to 28 contributions to local administrators.

The contributions routinely reach between VND250,000 and VND800,000 annually. Overall, most farmers paid between 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent of their income in fees. After covering production costs and daily needs, they are left then with little disposable cash. While workshop participants said the fees gave some depressed areas a facelift, they were a burden to poor farmers.

Ministry officials said it was necessary to re-examine the contributions to cut down on unreasonable fees, while defining the ones necessary to develop rural areas. Farmers, meanwhile, suggested the State support local infrastructure projects. The Government fee study covered 135 communes and 117 agricultural co-operatives in 46 cities and provinces. It found farmers’ expenditures varied widely.

For example, each household in Hung Lan Commune in Nghe An Province’s Hung Nguyen District contributes up to VND2 million every year.

The survey said about 80 per cent of a household’s contributions flow to the communal level. Infrastructure accounts for the largest proportion of that total at about 77 per cent.

The Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry said the contribution rate tended to be higher in poorer areas. Farmers in the city and provinces of Ha Noi, Hai Duong and Hung Yen contribute less than their counterparts in the Hong River Delta.

The workshop will gather opinions from other ministries, industries, organisations, cities and provinces to complete a report which will then be submitted to the Government as it hashes out a new policy on fees in rural areas.

Viet Nam News
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