Mekong Delta fishermen face threat to livelihoods
  • By Pham Tam | | April 17, 2012 08:07 AM
 >>  Vietnamese 'catfish' farmers face economic woes

Farmers in the Mekong Delta are facing amounting difficulties as cat fish prices fall sharply.


Cat fish prices have dramatically decreased

Cat fish stood at VND26,000 (USD1.2) per kilo last month, but now it has declined to VND22,000 (USD1) per kilo.

Fishermen in Can Tho City are incurring losses of VND1,000-VND1,500 per kilo due to these low prices.

Fishermen in Hau Giang Province are also facing the same problem. Cat fish price here has decreased to VND22,000 (USD1) a kilo.

According to data released by An Giang Province’s Department of Industry and Trade, export cat fish prices from March 30 to April 5 ranged from VND23,000-VND24,000 (USD1-USD1.15), a VND200-VND500 or 1-2% per kilo decrease compared to last month and 8-10% compared to the same period last year.

Tran Van Hon, a fisherman in Thoi An Ward, Can Tho City’s O Mon District said, “I own a 15,000-square metre fish pond. Now it’s the time for cat fish to grow quickly, but sharply decreasing prices are worrying. If this situation continues, many fish-raising households will have to cease trading.”

Nguyen Van Tuan, another fisherman in Hau Giang Province’s Cai Chanh Village said, “I own two fish ponds with a total area of 6,000 square metres. Everyday I spend VND60 million (USD2,875) buying five tonnes of fish feed. Now it’s the time to sell fish, but decreasing prices have left me depressed, I am suffering serious losses.”

Le Chi Binh, Vice Chairman of An Giang Association of Seafood Farming and Processing said, “Cat fish prices are decreasing due to the fact that banks are tightening their loans. Many enterprises don’t have enough capital to buy fish, so they’re trying to reduce prices as much as possible. Fishermen insist on receiving their money immediately after selling fish. They would rather sell at cheap prices than let enterprises owe their money. Plus many seafood enterprises are suffering losses and have become insolvent”.

According to the association's statistics, only 30% of fish raising households in An Giang Province have continued aquaculture, with the others raising breeding fish, or letting out their fish ponds to enterprises. Cat fish farmers only dare to maintain their fish-breeding on a moderate scale and may cease farming for a period of time.

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