Tra breeders suffer as prices fall
HA NOI (VNS)— Tra fish breeding farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region are suffering losses of VND3,000-4,000 (US$0.14-0.19) per kilogramme as a result of declining raw fish prices, according to the local seafood association.
|Farmers in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho harvest tra fish. — VNA/VNS Photo An Dang
Raw material prices now range between VND19,500 ($0.93) and VND20,500 ($0.98) per kilogramme.
The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) reported that in one week from December 26 to January 2 alone tra prices slumped VND500-1,000 ($0.02-0.05) in most provinces in the region.
Hoang The Viet, a fish farm owner in Can Tho Province told the Viet Nam Economic Forum website that tra prices had fallen sharply over the past months and he had lost around VND10 billion ($476,200) after selling 5,000-6,000 tonnes of fish.
Viet said that tra breeding areas had narrowed significantly in the region. "Many farmers have quit because of the tough conditions and I myself now leave 15ha of ponds idle waiting for profitable prices; we are losing about nine tenths of the usual profits," he said.
The Cuu Long Delta has a total tra breeding area of over 1,300ha, but 70 per cent of tra farmers were suspending this occupation, the An Giang Seafood Breeding and Processing Association claimed.
The Viet Nam Economic Forum reported farmers commenting that a limited number of tra processors and dealers in the region (about 15 enterprises) had caused disadvantageous prices for farmers. Businesses facing declining export markets even bought the fish at VND500 lower than the prices that farmers could sell at local markets.
Farmers in Can Tho Province said that more and more enterprises were hiring land and ponds for breeding fish themselves and this made it easier for them to put pressure on prices. Increasing the price of animal feed, now mounting to about VND13,000 ($0.62) per kilogramme, also significantly pushed up costs for farmers.
General Secretary of the An Giang seafood association, Le Trung Dung, said, "If the current situation continues, we will have to close the tra fish industry at some point. Breeders won't do their business when costs are too high and selling prices are too low."
Farmers have called for new policies from the Government to effectively support the industry. — VNS