The story of 12 farmers from An Giang province, who boldly participated in the “vertical link chain for pangasius breeding” pilot loan project, took an unexpected turn. As they prepared for the Lunar New Year celebrations, their hopes were shattered when the business owners vanished, leaving them in crippling debt.
The Disappearance of the Seafood Giant
Thuan An Company, led by its general manager Nguyen Thi Hue Trinh, absconded with a staggering 62 billion VND after selling fish to the farmers. To make matters worse, the company also owed approximately 495 billion VND to Agribank CN An Giang. This abrupt departure shattered the chain that connected the farmers and the pangasius industry.
Festive Season Marred by Debt
As the Lunar New Year of 2020 approached, farmers who had participated in the pangasius production chain in An Giang found themselves drowning in debt. Nguyen Van Tan, a resident of Vinh Thanh Trung commune, Chau Phu district, lamented, “Tet is arriving, and my family still owes more than 2.7 billion dong to the food agents. We are at a loss, as our pangasius breeding venture continues to hemorrhage money.”
Le Quang Vinh, another farmer from TT.An Chau, H. Chau Thanh, shared a similar plight. He said, “From the beginning, we borrowed capital successfully, purchased food, nurtured the fish, and delivered them on time with excellent quality. My family borrowed 9.6 billion dong for food, delivered fish worth over 9.7 billion VND, and yet we are being denied the excess amount. The bank now asks us to repay the principal, which is unacceptable. This has pushed my family into financial ruin.”
The Search for Accountability
The farmers, who faithfully adhered to the regulations of the chain, are not to blame for this catastrophic turn of events. Nguyen Van Nghiep from Long Xuyen City emphasized that the responsibility lies with the company and the bank. He voiced his frustration, saying, “The bank has forced the farmers to bear the burden by demanding payment for the food debt. We have already delivered fish to the company, and now we are being made to pay our debts twice.”
Le Van Nung, Vice Chairman of An Giang Provincial People’s Committee, acknowledged the unfair predicament the farmers find themselves in. He commented, “The chain of ties was formed with good intentions. However, the failure of the project resulted from the poor choice of an unreliable company. The responsibility, therefore, lies with the functional area and the bank.” Nung hoped for the bank to erase the farmers’ bad debts and for the authorities to provide support in overcoming the difficulties they have faced over the past three years.
Seeking Justice for the Farmers
Lieutenant Colonel Tran Van Tien, Deputy Captain of the Economic Police Department of An Giang Province Police, assured that the case has been investigated and prosecuted. The responsible individuals, including Nguyen Thi Hue Trinh and Nguyen Thai Son, have fled, prompting a search conducted by the Ministry of Public Security. Moreover, the An Giang Investment Police Agency has initiated forensic expertise procedures to evaluate the assets related to Thuan An Loan Company.
Despite the farmers’ hopes for a swift resolution, the investigation has temporarily been suspended. The delay is due to the extended time required for forensic expertise. The farmers anxiously await justice and a resolution to their plight.
The farmers participating in the pangasius production chain in An Giang had placed their trust in this promising endeavor. However, the sudden disappearance of the seafood giant and the subsequent debts have left them in a state of despair. While the search for justice continues, these resilient individuals strive to rebuild their lives, hoping for a brighter future.
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