Fisherman Ho Van Doi, owner of a fishing boat coded DNa – 90315, says it is now the harvest season, but he cannot sail his boat as revenues are not enough to cover expenses.
“Prices have revolved around VND60,000 a kg over the last six months, which is less than half of the rate we enjoyed in the same period last year,” he says.
There are some 30 boats sitting dormant, and some fishermen have considered switching to another job to make ends meet. Some are even putting their boats on sale.
They say the crisis was caused after China, the sole consumption market for their squid, has ceased importing the product.
“Many Chinese importers unexpectedly vanished and prices slumped dramatically due to the surplus supply,” they say.
The situation is quite common in Vietnam, where Chinese traders are often the sole importers of certain products, and their disappearance usually leaves local farmers stuck with losses and unsold stocks.
Last April saw a similar case in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long, when Chinese traders unexpectedly cancelled their sweet potatoe purchases, sending prices into a steep plunge -- from VND800,000 for 60kg down to only VND250,000.
It was these same foreign traders who ignited a wave to grow the vegetable in the locality, as in mid-2010 they came to Vietnam to plant the potatoes at attractive prices.
Elsewhere, in the northern province of Bac Giang, farmers also reaped no profits from their bumper litchi harvest, thanks to a heavy dependence on Chinese traders for output.
Litchi nuts in Luc Ngan last year fetched only VND5,000 a kg, a price which farmers said is only enough to buy two glasses of iced tea from street vendors.
Chinese traders used to buy 60 percent of the 100,000 tons of litchi harvested in Luc Ngan on an annual basis, and their cancelled purchase understandably sent prices to bottom.