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Southern shrimp farmers hit by disease, low returns

Update: July, 24/2012 - 16:55

HA NOI – Many shrimp farmers in southern provinces are being hit by new diseases on top of low prices and falling export demand.

The provinces include Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Soc Trang, among others.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, a large number of shrimp are dying from new diseases, including hepatopancreas caseation disease (acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome) and "marine ich" or white spot disease, among others, probably caused by environmental changes in the summer season.

The directorate said more than 13,000ha of shrimp ponds in Soc Trang, accounting for over 40 per cent of the total area, were wiped-out while Tra Vinh suffered a loss of 10,000ha of shrimp.

About 10,000 shrimps in 7,000ha of shrimp ponds in Bac Lieu province also were killed by the diseases.

According to a Bac Lieu department of agriculture and rural development report, farmers were not only being hit by the diseases, they were also facing fierce price competition from overseas.

The report said shrimp imports as high as 400 tonnes a day were pouring into the province from Thailand. Furthermore, Thailand shrimp was being sold in the province at a price 40 per cent lower than that of the home-grown product.

A Soc Trang seafood processing manufacturer said the price of tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon) offered by Thailand was US$1 a kilo cheaper than the same prawn grown in Ca Mau and Kien Giang.

The Directorate of Fisheries said the low demand for shrimps throughout the world, due to the economic downturn, was putting great pressure on the local shrimp export sector.

Au Vung seafood export company said it was having difficulty exporting seafood to Japan which previously accounted for over 20 per cent of the company's total annual exports.

The company said the price of locally grown shrimp was currently falling to meet the market.

Meanwhile, the report said local authorities in the provinces were providing assistance to shrimp farmers to scatter chlorine over lakes and ponds to kill the diseases.

In addition, they were about to provide shrimp farmers with financial support. For example, VND39 billion ($1.8 million) has been set aside to help Bac Lieu's shrimp farmers. – VNS

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