CAN THO — Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces have exported 287,000 tonnes of tra fish worth US$862 million since early this year, equivalent in volume to the amount of fish exported in 2011, but profits have been hit by falling prices.
The regional Steering Committee for Tra Fish Production and Consumption said the fish price had fallen by US$0.1-0.2 per kilo in comparison with 2011.
Last April, tra catfish were fetching VND27,000-VND28,000 per kilo. Farmers are now selling their fish for VND19,500-VND20,000 per kilo. Meanwhile, the cost price of producing tra for export is estimated at VND23,000 to VND25,000 per kilo.
Deputy Chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers Duong Ngoc Minh blamed falling prices on tightened bank lending and high interest rates, which have forced farmers to sell at a loss.
The Delta region has nearly 3,900ha of tra fish farms, a reduction of about 20 per cent compared with the same period last year, causing many tra fish processing factories to cut production.
Minh said the committee said Delta provinces would help to alleviate the financial difficulties incurred by fish farmers. Meanwhile, supervision would be stepped up to ensure quality, prevent disease and reduce environmental pollution, he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday also submitted to the Prime Minister an assistance package for tra fish breeders in Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces.
Under the plan, tra fish breeders would be given bank loans so that they can continue raising fish in their ponds and lakes until the end of this year. While processing factories were short of tra raw fish for production and export, many farmers have stopped raising the fish because fish feed prices have increased and farmers have had difficulty accessing bank loans, according to the ministry.
The region's main export markets are Europe, Southeast Asia and the US. Exports meanwhile to eastern Europe and Mediterranean countries have been expanding. — VNS