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Mekong Delta farmers begin shrimp harvest

Update: April, 28/2017 - 09:00
A farmer feeds shrimp in Kiên Giang Province’s An Minh District. — VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region have begun this year’s first harvest season of brackish water shrimp, earning strong profits due to high prices and favourable breeding conditions.

The price of 30-piece-per-kilo size black tiger shrimp, which is bought at ponds by traders, is VNĐ245,000-250,000 (US$10.6-10.8) a kilo.  

Nguyễn Duy Bảo, who rotates growing shrimp and rice in a rice field in Kiên Giang Province’s An Minh District, said “At this price, shrimp-rice rotating farmers can earn a profit that is equal to 60-70 per cent of the production cost of shrimp.”

In the early months of this year the weather was not severe as during the same period of last year, so shrimp grew quickly, Bảo said.

Farmers in Kiên Giang have bred more than 102,000ha of shrimp in the first three months of the year, up 11 per cent against the same period last year, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.   

In Cà Mau Province, which is the country’s largest shrimp producer, farmers who began breeding shrimp fries early this year have reaped their harvest.  

Nguyễn Văn Thoả in Cà Mau Province’s Phú Tân District has sold two ponds of white-legged shrimp after three months of breeding and got a profit of VNĐ700 million ($30,400).

Many farmers here have not bred shrimp this year because they were afraid of severe drought, salt water intrusion and poor harvest as last year, Thoả said.

This year, saline water intrusion in the delta occurred late and the salinity has been low so many farmers are waiting for the proper time to release shrimp fries into ponds for breeding.

At present, the weather is hot, causing a high content of pH (potential of hydrogen) in shrimp ponds or rapid growth of algae in shrimp ponds. This could affect the growth of shrimp.

Quách Thị Thanh Bình, deputy head of the Sóc Trăng Province Aquaculture Sub-department, said farmers should regularly carry out water inspections as well as heed the warning of competent agencies about shrimp diseases in order to choose a proper time to put water into shrimp ponds.

Sóc Trăng will enter its main period for releasing shrimp fries into ponds for breeding after May when the rainy season officially begins, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The province’s shrimp breeding areas expect to increase as the price of shrimp is high this year, said the department.

Sóc Trăng farmers have harvested more than 1,000ha of shrimp with a total yield of 4,153 tonnes so far this year.

Raw shrimp shortage

Ngô Thành Lĩnh, general secretary of the Cà Mau Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said most shrimp processors in Cà Mau are facing a shortage of shrimp material.

The supply of raw shrimp can only meet 40-50 per cent of the demand of large shrimp processing firms in the province, he said.

In addition, the third quarter of the year is the main shrimp export season so most domestic shrimp processors are buying more raw shrimp to ensure their production.

The domestic supply of raw shrimp will not meet the demand of shrimp processors in the coming time and the price of shrimp will remain high, Lĩnh said.

The delta, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of the country’s shrimp breeding area, has raised more than 536,000ha of shrimp as of the end of last month, up about 53,300ha against the same period last year. — VNS

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