Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Đồng Tháp Province, already the largest tra fish producer in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, has further increased the breeding area this year because of the high prices the fish is fetching.
The area has increased by 20 per cent to 1,381ha, including 200ha of new ponds.
The price of the fish at the pond has risen by VNĐ5,000-6,000 per kilogramme since last year to VNĐ28,000 – 30,000 (US$1.2 – 1.3), fetching farmers large profits.
So far this year nearly 300ha of tra ponds have been harvested, with output being more than 100,000 tonnes, up nearly 5 per cent year-on-year, according to the Đồng Tháp Fisheries Sub-department.
Lê Hoàng Vũ, head of the sub-department, said the province is developing a model of tra farming based on contracts between farmers and processors.
Under the contracts they sign, farmers do not worry about working capital or selling their output because the processors provide them with fish feed and impart farming techniques.
In more than 60 per cent of the breeding areas farmers have adopted quality standards such as global GAP or VietGAP.
Most tra processors in the province either manage to sign deals or have their own breeding areas to secure more than 60 per cent of their raw fish supply.
The prices of the fish are expected to remain high because export demand remains high while output has not increased much.
With tra fetching high prices, many farmers in Đồng Tháp are digging ponds even in unzoned areas to breed the fish.
Tân Hồng District and Hồng Ngự town have 43ha and 18ha of new ponds in unzoned areas.
In Tân Hồng, besides locals, many farmers from outside too are raising tra, especially in Tân Phước Commune.
Nguyễn Văn Hoàng, a Tân Phước local, said the selling of paddy fields for turning them into tra ponds has gathered pace in the last two months.
Since most fields near his house had been sold, so too sold his 4,000sq.m land, he said.
In the absence of other paddy fields nearby, his land would have borne the brunt of mice and other rice pests, he explained.
Besides, people owning harvesters and other rice farming machines would not agree to operate them on his field alone, he said.
Nguyễn Thanh Tuấn, deputy chairman of the Tân Phước Commune People’s Committee, said competent agencies have been ordered to work with farmers to stop the digging of tra fish ponds in unzoned areas.
People continuing to dig in unauthorised areas would be reported to the district’s People’s Committee, he warned. — VNS