|Tra fish is processed for export at the Tien River Seafood Co in the southern province of Dong Thap. Feed accounts for up to 70 per cent of production costs in the tra fish industry. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HCM CITY (VNS)— High animal-feed prices are causing financial losses for husbandry households and farms, especially those that raise poultry, pigs and tra fish.
Feed accounts for up to 70 per cent of production costs, according to livestock breeding farmers.
The price of animal feed in Viet Nam is about 15-20 per cent higher than in China, Thailand and Indonesia, according to the Viet Nam Animal Feed Association (VAFA).
Feed prices for pigs, for example, have risen from VND11,000 a kilo to VND12,500 a kilo over the past 12 months.
Prices for raw materials used for feed, such as corn, rice bran and fish flour, are also expected to continue to rise.
Last year, Viet Nam imported US$3 billion worth of raw materials to produce animal feed, including soybean, corn and meat flour.
VAFA has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop plans to produce raw materials for animal feed.
It has also petitioned the Government to offer loans and preferential tax rates for the animal-feed industry.
According to Vu Trong Binh, deputy head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, the country currently has no production zones for animal feed.
Forced to quit
As prices for feed climb, many farmers are switching to other jobs.
A farmer in southeastern Tay Ninh Province said he had to stop raising pigs for two months because of high feed prices.
"In previous years, the price of pigs would sometimes fall, but pig raisers still made a profit," the farmer said.
His mother is raising 20 pigs, but she is expected to lose at least VND500,000 a pig at the current selling price of VND37,000 a kilo.
Other households in the area were also planning to quit raising pigs, he said.
Elsewhere in southern Dong Nai Province, the country's largest chicken producer, the price of chicken has fallen below production costs.
Tam Hoang chicken now sells for VND38,000-40,000 a kilo, down VND10,000-12,000 against early February.
Nguyen Tri Cong, chairman of the Dong Nai Animal Husbandry Association, said poultry and animal-raising households and farms were suffering severe losses, especially those with bank loans.
Big farms that typically sell about 10,000-20,000 Tam Hoang chicken a day are losing about VND30-40 million daily, he said.
Similarly, the price of tra fish in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the country's largest tra fish producer, has fallen to its lowest price over the last 12 months. Farmers are losing about VND2,000-3,000 for each kilo of tra fish.
Although the tra fish season has begun, many farmers plan to quit raising fish.
Southern Dong Thap Province has more than 1,600ha of tra fish ponds, but only 30-40 per cent have been shifted to other purposes. Some have been left abandoned.
About 50 per cent of farmers in Mekong Delta An Giang Province, which has 1,300ha of tra fish ponds, plan to abandon their ponds or reduce the scale of cultivation.
An Giang Province also in the Mekong Delta harvested 18,000 tonnes of tra fish in the first two months of this year, down 30 per cent against the same period last year. —VNS