Sa Pa salmon farmers hit by pandemic

March 21, 2020 - 08:00

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have seriously hit restaurants and hotels in the famous northern tourist town of Sa Pa Town, Lào Cai online newspaper reported. 


Chảo Duần Vầy's farm has nearly two tonnes of salmon but he cannot find customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo

LÀO CAI The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have seriously hit restaurants and hotels in the famous northern tourist town of Sa Pa Town, Lào Cai online newspaper reported.

As a knock-on effect, Ngũ Chỉ Sơn Commune, which is the biggest salmon farming area in the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai, is suffering.

Hạng A Sang, chairman of Ngũ Chỉ Sơn Commune People's Committee, said there were currently no statistics on the untold tonnes of unsold salmon in the area, but farmers were sure to meet with difficulties.

Those most seriously hit would be farms that had no links to the consumption market and depended on traders.

There are about 70 salmon farms in the area owned by enterprises, cooperatives and locals. The farms are mainly found in the villages of Cán Hồ B, Phìn Hồ and Kim Ngan.

According to experienced salmon farm owners, salmon farming requires a big initial investment but if the consumption market is favourable and price is stable, it yielded good profits.

Chảo Duần Tá, the owner of a salmon farm in Cán Hồ B Village, said that 15 days ago, prices dropped from VNĐ250,000/kg to VNĐ180,000/kg.

“Prices are continuing to fall and we've had no traders coming up here to buy our fish. I've got more than a tonne of fish in stock," he said.

Another local salmon farmer, Hạng A Phình, was worried about paying back his VNĐ300 million bank loan.

He intended to pay off the debt after selling his salmon and then re-invest in the farm, but like many other salmon farmers, although his fish are ready for sale, there's been no interest for the last two weeks.

“At the current price of VNĐ170,000/kg, it is not enough to recover my investment, but the more I keep the more I suffer,” he estimated.

Some salmon farms in Kim Ngan Village are sitting on up to five tonnes of fish.

Chảo Duần Vầy from Kim Ngân Village said he borrowed VNĐ200 million to invest in salmon farming tanks three years ago, but just as the salmon were ready to be sold, the price started plummeting.

Kim Ngan Village is located far from the commune’s centre which makes transporting the fish difficult, so traders are offering a lower price of VNĐ150,000/kg.

Vầy said his farm had nearly two tonnes of unsold salmon but he still had to spend about VNĐ1 million per day on fish food.

“To limit the impacts of the pandemic, I am feeding the fish less and hoping the traders will come.”

Salmon farms in Sa Pa mostly serve to tourist needs, so the selling price is usually relatively high.

However, at present, the price is low, so local farmers should find other consumption channels other than tourists to help ease the difficulties, according to Sang, chairman of Ngũ Chỉ Sơn Commune's People's Committee. VNS