The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that the total catfish output in the world will reach 3 million tons in 2020, of which 50 percent is from Vietnam.
Mekong Delta’s farmers, however, are worried as catfish prices have been sliding. Catfish is sold at VND17,000-18,000 per kilogram, lower than the production cost of VND24,000-25,000 per kilogram.
Chung Van Tuoi, from Tan Chau commune of An Giang province, who has been farming catfish for 30 years, said he has never incurred such a big loss.
“I have taken a loss of VND300 million selling 50 tons of catfish,” he said. “The pandemic has caused Chinese demand todecrease."
“Farmers have been put into a dilemma. If they sell catfish now, they will incur big losses. But if they don’t, they will incur a bigger loss,” he said.
The Vietnam Pangasius Association confirmed that catfish prices have decreased by 30-40 percent since December 2019 because of the export decreases.
|The localities which are suffering most from the price decreases include An Phu, Chau Phu and Chau Thanh districts in An Giang province, Hong Ngu district in Dong Thap, Nga Bay City in Hau Giang, Vinh Thanh and Thoi Lai districts in Can Tho, and Tan Thanh and Moc Hoa in Long An.|
The localities which are suffering most from the price decreases include An Phu, Chau Phu and Chau Thanh districts in An Giang province, Hong Ngu district in Dong Thap, Nga Bay City in Hau Giang, Vinh Thanh and Thoi Lai districts in Can Tho, and Tan Thanh and Moc Hoa in Long An.
The catfish export turnover to ASEAN decreased by 20 percent on average, of which the value of exports to Thailand decreased by 11 percent and Singapore by 34 percent.
Catfish breeders have also seen prices dropping dramatically.
Ha Thi Tuyen in Can Tho City said in previous years, she made a profit of VND200 million from every three months of farming catfish for breeders on 2 hectares of water surface. But Tuyen cannot sell breeders these days though the price has decreased by 20 percent.
A farmer said the production cost per kilogram of breeder is VND29,000-31,000 per kilogram, while the selling price is no more than VND25,000 per kilogram.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), since mid-March, Chinese importers have begun placing orders with Vietnamese exporters as the country has better controlled the epidemic. Exports to the Chinese and Hong Kong markets may become stable in April.
Meanwhile, exports to the US market in February brought turnover of $20.6 million, up by 67 percent compared with the same period last year.
However, VASEP has warned that challenges still exist.
Catfish exporters hope that orders from China will increase again as this country has passed the Covid-19 epidemic peak.
Seafood companies have vowed to bring catfish to Vietnamese dining tables after their success in the world market.