VietNamNet Bridge – “Farmers now have no more tra fish to sell. They have given up farming. Seafood processing companies will face a serious material shortage in the time to come,” warned Deputy Chair of the An Giang Provincial Seafood Association (AFA), Le Chi Binh.
Prices up, oversize fish also salable
The tra fish prices, after a long period of sliding have increased sharply. Even oversized fish, which were refused by export companies in the past, can now be sold, though at the low prices of 23,000 dong per kilo.
The tra prices in Mekong Delta’s provinces have increased by 2000 dong per kilo. The fish, which can meet the standards for export, can be sold at 26,500 dong per kilo, much higher than the 21,000 dong per kilo level seen in the period from May to August.
However, the current high fish prices are still lower than the highest peaks seen in late May, just several days before the sharp price falls, by 2000 dong per kilo.
Nguyen Huu Nguyen, a member of AFA, said that unlike August, when farmers moved heaven and earth to look for buyers, tra fish are selling very well nowadays. Oversized fish are also being hunted by export companies which pay up to 23,000 dong per kilo.
Nguyen said that the domestic prices have increased again because the demand for fish for export has increased sharply, when the importers from the EU and the US rush to seek supply sources for the Christmas and New Year 2012. Meanwhile, domestic materials are nearly running out.
In An Giang province, Chau Phu district is well known as the area which has the biggest tra fish farming area. However, there in the district, only 10-20 percent of the total fish farming area still have fish.
Farmers turn their back to fish farming
Though hearing that the fish prices have increased sharply again due to the short supply, farmers still turn their back to farming.
Duong Van Dien, a farmer in Chau Phu district in An Giang province, said that he incurred the loss of 300 million dong from selling tra fish farmed on the two hectares of ponds. “I have no capital to farm fish now. And if I had money, I would not think of farming again,” he said. It seems that he would never forget the big loss of 300 million dong which is a bitter lesson for him.
In other localities such as Can Tho, Vinh Long and Dong Thap, tra fish farmers are also not interested in farming fish any more, because the more they farm, the bigger losses they incur.
Binh from AFA has warned that the tra fish shortage would become even more serious in the time to come. As farmers do not farm fish any more, Vietnam will not have fish to export.
In fact, some “brave” households have resumed farming after hearing about the fish price increases. However, they are facing too many difficulties in farming. Banks now do not want to lend money to tra farmers because they believe that tra farming is too risky, fearing that farmers would not make profit to pay bank debts.
Nguyen also said that farmers now find it difficult to buy fish breeders in the current shortage, when a lot of breeders have died at breeding establishments.
“I know some seafood processing companies once stated that they can control 30-50 percent of the total materials needed. However, this is just an “artificial behavior” to try to force the prices down,” Nguyen said.