Pangasius farmers harvesting the pond. (Photo: world of pangasius)
Pangasius prices, Filipino plan shake Vietnamese producers
Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
The price of tra (pangasius) has continued to fall in the Mekong Delta and has reached a low VND 22,000 (USD 1.04) -- VND 23,000 (USD 1.08) per kg. Farmers in Vinh Long, Tien Giang and Dong Thap Provinces and Can Tho City said these extremely low prices will cause them to incur losses of VND 1,000 (USD 0.05) - VND 1,500 (USD 0.07) a kg.
Tra farming has become too expensive and difficulties are expected to intensify this year due to a lack of capital, experts say. In addition, lending rates continue to climb.
The Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Mekong Delta Provinces are worried that several pangasius breeders will go bankrupt or even leave the business of fish breeding altogether, SGGP reports.
Chair of the Chau Phu Fisheries Cooperative in An Giang province, Nguyen Huu Nguyen blamed seafood processing companies of leaving farmers without raw materials because they usually delay their payment, thus negatively affecting pangasius production.
Meanwhile, the Philippines are carrying out all necessary measures to expand their catfish industry to meet growing demand both in the local and foreign market -- a move which involves slashing tra imports from Vietnam and therefore fewer opportunities for Vietnam’s pangasius products, VietNamNet Bridge reports.
Two years ago, the Filipino Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed a delegation of 20 members to visit the main tra farms in Can Tho and HCM City in Vietnam. The visitors wanted to learn about Vietnamese aquaculture and seafood processing companies and how they function.
After that, DTI launched a programme on farming tra on a trial basis in Mindanao, run by the Regional Operations Development Group (RODG).
By last December, the project had created 915 direct jobs, providing a hefty contribution to the food security programme through small- and medium-enterprise development.
“The current focus on the pangasius industry is seen as a strategy for inclusive growth. It is looked at as a cluster-based development aimed at creating sustainable employment in the countryside and contributing to the food security programme through micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) development,” said RODG Undersecretary Merly M Cruz, PNA reports.
Right now, the Philippines imports about 600 tonnes of tra fillet products from Vietnam a month for USD 1.6 million.
The Philippines’ Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said that the total catfish output increased by 186.74 per cent between 2008 and 2010. The Bureau hopes fillet products made in the Philippines will eventually be able to replace the current imports, which come mostly from Vietnam, by 2016.
- Tra farming in trouble due to shortage of capital
By Natalia Real