After racing to breed tra fish, farmers in the Mekong Delta region, mainly in the Tien Giang and Long An provinces, suffered heavy losses because of the rock-bottom prices of tra fish in the market.
|Farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Long An harvest tra fish. Farmers in the Mekong Delta region have suffered heavy losses because of the rock-bottom prices of tra fish in the market|
In the 2017-2018 period, tra fish prices continually hit record highs from VND30,000 per kilogram to VND40,000 and at times to VND70,000, resulting in an increase in the tra fish farming area in many localities, especially Tien Giang and Long An provinces.
Long An Province, for example, saw farmers switching from rice farming, with 1,500 hectares of land, to tra fish breeding at the time. Land assigned to raising tra fish in Tan Hung District reached over 1,000 hectares, while in Tan Thanh District, it reached more than 300 hectares and in Vinh Hung District, 100 hectares.
Tra fish breeding rose during the period due to strong demand for the product on the global market.
However, tra fish exports have plummeted since the beginning of 2019, blocking the plans of many tra fish farming firms and keeping households from raising new tra fish schools.
Ong Hang Van, deputy director of Truong Giang Seafood JSC in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, told the Saigon Times that at the end of 2018, many firms had announced their large-scale tra fish production projects, totaling trillions of Vietnamese dong.
“These projects are being executed slowly, and some have been suspended,” Van said.
The stagnation or suspension of these projects was attributed to the drop in tra fish exports this year, leading to the low prices of the product.
A report from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers shows that tra fish shipments to the China-Hong Kong market and the United States, Vietnam’s two largest tra fish buyers, are on a downward spiral.
In particular, Vietnam saw tra fish exports to China-Hong Kong amounting to US$39 million in March, down 13% year-on-year. The country shipped over US$99 million worth of tra fish to the market in the first three months this year, slipping 1.8% year-on-year, while tra fish shipments to the United States in the same period generated US$71 million, dipping 5% against the same period last year.
The falling demand for tra fish and oversupply has pulled down its prices to VND17,000-VND18,000 per kilogram, causing tra fish breeders to incur heavy losses. SGT