Illustrative photo (Photo: VNA)
With prices of tra skyrocketing, farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are scrambling to breed the fish, paying little heed to warnings from experts.
The price of the fish has been rising since beforeTet(Lunar New Year) at the end of January and now stands at 27,000 VND (1.2 USD) per kilogramme, thought to be the highest level in the last few years.
Tuoi Tre(Youth) newspaper quoted P.,trabreeder in Soc Trang province’s Ke Sach district who farms them in three ponds, said he and his friends are looking for more ponds to breed more fish.
“One of my friends in HCM City, who has no experience intrafarming, wants to lease seven or eight ponds to breed the fish.”
According to Pham Thanh Nhi, head of the Hong Ngu district Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau in Dong Thap province, because the prices of snakehead fish are falling, many local farmers have switched from it totra.
With so many farmers switching totra, not surprisingly there is a shortage of juveniles for breeding.
Their price has risen by 20,000 VND per kilogramme from a year ago to 40,000-50,000 VND.
Another cause for the short supply is that several breeders oftrajuveniles switched to other fishes after suffering losses a couple of years ago, Vo Hung Dung, Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Producers and Exporters (VASEP), told the media at a seminar on Vietnamese seafood in Can Tho city last month.
The prices of adulttraare also rising because of the increasing purchase by China, he said.
Chinaaccounted for 18 per cent of Vietnam’straexports last year, 15 percent higher than five years earlier.
Nguyen Minh Nhi, a former chairman of the An Giang province People’s Committee, said the volatility intrafish prices is nothing new to fish farmers, but told them to be cautious since no one can be sure where the prices are heading.
Some analysts said though increasing imports by China are driving prices up, there is no guarantee this trend would continue, and farmers could suffer big losses if the imports stop.
The An Giang Department of Agriculture and Development has encouraged farmers to team up with processing companies to ensure their fish is sold.
According to VASEP, in the first quarter of this year, farmers in the delta bred 739ha oftraand harvested 672ha, which yielded 210,000 tonnes.
They have been making handsome profits thanks to the high prices.
But authorities have been warning farmers of uncontrolled expansion because historicallytrafish prices have been volatile./.