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Mekong Delta to boost tra fish production, consumption

Update: July, 30/2015 - 22:52
Workers at a tra fish farm in Can Tho transfer fish for processing. — VNS Photo Le Hoang Vu
HCM CITY (VNS) — Government agencies have been asked to help farmers identify the most desirable tra fish products in local and overseas markets, in an aim to increase production and consumption.

Ngo Quang Tu, head of the Department for Agriculture, Forestry, Aqua-culture and Salt Production, said: "Unlike the favourable conditions of ‘the only product in the market' of previous years, Viet Nam's tra fish products now face harsh competition from other kinds of fish from many countries."

Addressing a conference held by the Viet Nam Tra Fish Association and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Can Tho on July 30, Tu said that Viet Nam had great potential for tra fish products, which have been exported to 151 countries and territories.

He said that 90 per cent of Vie t Nam's tra fish exports were tra fish filets.

Vo Hung Dung, secretary of the Viet Nam Tra Fish Association, said that as of June 30, the Mekong Delta had an additional 1,959 ha under tra fish breeding, up by 0.21 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The catch of tra fish was estimated at 516,140 tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 1.22 per cent.

Total tra fish exports in the first five months amounted to US$616.5 million, down by 7 per cent compared with the same period of 2014.

The price of tra fish used as materials for processing plants ranged from VND21,000 to VND24,500 per kg in the first five months of the year.

In June 2015, tra fish prices dropped to VND19,000 – VND20,000, causing losses for farmers.

Some 10,000 tonnes of tra fish products are sold in the domestic market annually.

Nguyen Van Hung, director of the Dong Thap-based tra fish processor Hung Ca Co. Ltd., said to ensure a stable supply of tra fish for the company's processing lines, his firm had collaborated with 306 tra fish breeders in the Mekong Delta for the last nine years.

Under this partnership, Hung Ca Co. has provided breeders with animal feed and tra fish breeding technical know-how.

Hung said the slump in tra fish prices has caused losses for 40 of these tra fish breeders. Some of them have gone bankrupt.

Hung Ca Co has provided loans to help the tra fish breeders recover from their losses.

Hung said the banking system would provide a helping hand by suspending or reducing debts suffered by the tra fish breeders.

He said that tra fish breeders would no longer dump their products if they could recover from bankruptcy and become part of a tra fish production line. — VNS

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