|Farmers harvest giant river prawns for the upcoming Tết festival in Cà Mau Province’s Thới Bình District. – VNA/VNS Photo Huỳnh Anh
HCM CITY – Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta have begun to harvest giant river prawns they will sell during the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) festival and hope to earn good incomes though prices have declined slightly due to the impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic.
They mostly breed the crustacean in rotation with rice in their paddies.
Giant river prawns are usually in great demand during Tết, which falls this time on February 1.
In Cà Mau Province, the country’s largest shrimp producer, they have been bred on a total of 16,300ha this year, and the harvest is expected to exceed 2,800 tonnes.
Traders from Thái Bình District, which has the largest giant river prawn farming area in Cà Mau, are now buying the prawn of size 30 to a kilogramme at VNĐ95,000 – 100,000 (US$4.2 – 4.4).
Nguyễn Văn Nguyễn, a farmer in Thới Bình District’s Tân Bằng Commune, said the price was slightly down from last year but steady despite the pandemic.
“The harvest of giant river prawn before Tết will help my family have a good Tết.”
He normally earned VNĐ40 – 50 million ($1,770 – 2,200) from this crop, he said.
Nguyễn Văn Phúc, head of the Thới Bình Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the yield was high this year because of favourable weather and since farmers strictly followed the breeding schedules they were given.
“The harvest is staggered to avoid oversupply and price fluctuations.”
Besides selling domestically the district also exports 60 - 70 tonnes to Cambodia every year.
The province Department of Industry and Trade and Investment Promotion and Enterprise Support Centre are helping farmers in the district tie up with traders to sell their prawn.
In Bạc Liêu Province, farmers in shrimp – rice farming areas in Hồng Dân and Phước Long districts are busy harvesting.
Though prices are down by VNĐ20,000 (90 US cents) a kilogramme from last year, they are still earning good incomes because of higher yields of 110 kilogrammes per hectare, according to local farmers.
The prices often increase closer to Tết because of high demand, and so they expect those harvesting in the next couple of weeks would earn even more.
Trần Văn Liêm, deputy chairman of the Phước Long District People’s Committee, said the giant river prawn – rice farming model was highly efficient and environment friendly since farmers needed to use few chemicals.
The district plans to expand the model to benefit more farmers.
This year Bạc Liêu plans to have nearly 40,000ha under the model with farmers also breeding black tiger shrimp or white legged shrimp along with rice.
Authorities are also encouraging farmers to grow ST 24 and ST 25, two of the world’s best rice varieties, under the model. – VNS