|Hundreds of once wealthy households in Quang Binh Province are now in debt after investing large sums of money in shrimp breeding without mastering the proper techniques. — Illustrative Photo vovgiaothong.vn
QUANG BINH (VNS)— Hundreds of once wealthy households in Quang Binh Province are now in debt after investing large sums of money in shrimp breeding without mastering the proper techniques.
In 2012, the first households in Hai Ninh commune began raising white leg shrimp on land by pumping treated sea water into manmade ponds.
The model was tagged as one of the most efficient ways of raising and conserving water in the central coastal region.
The first breeders got rich quickly with to the success of their first shrimp harvest thanks to the clement weather and unpolluted water. They made profits of up to VND1.5 billion (US$75,000) from 1ha ponds.
Other households recognised their success, and decided to jump on the bandwagon. With limited land in their communes, they moved to other parts of the province such as Le Thuy, and Bo Trach, and even to neighbouring Quang Tri Province to rent land to breed shrimp.
One third join
In total, 400 out of the 1,200 households in Hai Ninh Commune started to breed shrimp.
"In 2013, after witnessing other households making a fast profit from breeding shrimp, my brother and I also invested all of our money," said shrimp breeder Mai Van Bung from Hai Ninh.
During their first season, they made VND1,5 billion. Following their success, they rented another 3ha pond in another part of the province, but they lost all of their money when the shrimp suddenly died. Many other households have also experienced the same problem.
"We thought we would be able to save our lives by breeding shrimp, but we have suffered severe financial losses. We owe the bank VND1 billion, and our friends VND2 billion. We do not know what to do now," said Bung.
Hoang Minh Doan, a local fisheries expert, said that most households that tried to breed shrimp were ignorant of the right techniques, and refused to listen to expert advice.
"To have enough money to start breeding shrimp, most locals borrowed money from the bank by putting up their houses as collateral," said Truong Van Lieu, chairman of Hai Ninh's People's Committee.
According to statistics from the commune's People's Committee, local shrimp breeders had borrowed VND151 billion from the bank.
However, those households want to make back that money from breeding shrimp, but do not admit that their failure is due to their lack of knowledge; they say it is due to the inclement weather.
"We warned locals several times about the risks they were taking by investing in shrimp farms without knowing the correct techniques. We even decided not to allocate additional land to stop them from breeding shrimp, but they rented land in other regions. The commune has 1,200 households, and 400 of them are in debt. The commune used to be the most developed in the district," said Lieu. — VNS