VietNamNet Bridge – Lacking capital is the biggest problem that may hinder the development of the tra fish farming. Experts say that only rich people can feed this kind of popular fish.
Tra farmers had a satisfactory year in 2011, but they do not feel happy because they foresee a lot of difficulties ahead, especially the lack of capital.
Can only the rich people breed tra fish?
Pham Anh Tuan, Deputy Director General of the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), has warned that many farmers would not have capital to resume tra fish farming.
According to Tuan, the average investment rate is 6-10 billion dong per hectare, and farmers need to borrow money at preferential interest rates to keep farming. However, since farmers’ assets have been mortgaged at banks, they now cannot access bank loans any more.
Nguyen Huu Nguyen, Chair of the Chau Phu Fisheries Cooperative in An Giang province, complained that seafood processing companies that collect fish materials from farmers usually delay their payment, thus influencing the tra fish farming benefits.
Duong Ngoc Minh, General Director of the Hung Vuong Seafood Company, said that commercial banks now only provide short term loans, while tra farming is a long term investment process which requires big capital.
“One should not think of using short term loans to develop the tra fish farming which requires a long term investment and a lot of money,” Minh said.
Also according to Minh, commercial banks only reserve modest proportions of capital for funding aquaculture.
Experts have also pointed out that the input material price increases have also made the aquaculture suffer. As the materials are getting more expensive, the production costs are getting higher. Meanwhile, the tra fish sale prices are unstable, which sometimes drop to the levels below the production costs, thus causing losses to farmers.
“Farming tra fish is the job of farmers. However, farmers’ role has become dimmer. It seems that only rich people now can breed tra fish,” commented Nguyen Huu Dung, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers VASEP.
Solutions still under discussion
Ta Quang Khanh, Director of the Credit Department under the State Bank of Vietnam, has promised that the banks would continue providing loans to support tra farming.
However, Khanh said that it is quite a normal thing when businessmen lack capital to do business. In fact, commercial banks themselves have their own problem: they only have short term capital, while they are asked to provide long term loans.
According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien, relevant ministries and branches should request the central bank to define the exact demand for capital for tra fish farming.
There are three questions that need to be clarified. How much capital is needed for tra fish farming? How much capital can commercial banks provide to farmers? Where farmers can seek capital?
Tien phong newspaper has quoted an official from VASEP as saying that Vietnam strives to export 2 billion dollars worth of tra fish in 2012. In order to fulfill the plan, farmers need some 1.3 million tons of tra fish materials. However, the fish output has been decreasing sharply because farmers lack capital for farming. Meanwhile, due to the bad weather, breeder fishes are seriously lacking.
Experts have predicted that the supply of breeder fish would only get more profuse by April, which means that seafood companies would only have fish to process by the end of the year. Companies are buying fish from farmers at high prices of 26,500 dong per kilo. However, there are few standard fish (0.9-1.2 kilo per fish) to collect.
Source: Lao dong, Tien phong