Southern provinces: Snakehead farming failures as prices plunge

Farmers in the southern provinces who in rush to farm snakehead have suffered serious losses after the price of snake-head fish kept falling for a long time. Many have abandoned their ponds or switch to other crops.

Huge losses

Snakehead farming was started in Trà Cú district, Trà Vinh province in 2001. In the period 2010-2012, the farmers switched from small scale farming to extensive farming. At that time, the fish price went up more than VND 40,000 ($1.7) that made the farmers get rich. So far, mushrooming snakehead farms causes flooding to market and felling price.

Farmer Trần Văn Tưa, located in Trà Cú town, Trà Cú district raised snakehead fish on about 2,400 m2 of water. In late February this year, with the stocking density of 40 fish fries / m2, he harvested 30 tonnes in six months of raising snake-head fish and sold at VNĐ 23,000 ($1) per kilo and have suffered losses of VNĐ 200 million ($8.695) . According to farmer Tưa, production costs were reported to be to be VNĐ 32,000 ($1.4) per kilo (not including labor cost).

Farmer Trang Thanh Vũ in Định An commune, Trà Cú province has also suffered a huge loss. He has just harvested 17 tonnes of snakehead fish last month and sold  at price of VNĐ 24,000 per kilo. After several months of hoarding fish and waiting for the price to increase, he loss VNĐ 150 million.

Switch to other crops

Many snake-head fish farmers in Trà Cú have switched to farm white leg shrimp or pangasius. The provincial authority has asked farmers to suspend snake-head fish farming and switch to other species.

Huỳnh Văn Thảo, manager of the Trà Cú district’s Agriculture and Rural Development, there are 280 snakehead fish households in this region, represented a reduction of 50 percent. We asked farmers to suspend fish farming and switch to Pangasius krempfi.

In Đồng Tháp province, farmers in Hồng Ngự and Tam Nông district where snake-head fish farms dominate also suffers huge losses due to the falling price. The farmers hear raised snake-head fish on about 100 hectares of water and have not found the demand market.

Hồ Văn Nhơn, Chairman of the People’s Committee in Thường Thới Tiền commune, Hồng  Ngự district said that the farmers rushed to farm fish or removed their crops to dig a fish pond to raise snake-head fish ignoring the warning of local authorities. As the result, supplies started flooding to market. Meanwhile, the feed price is still increasing that make this year was a big failure.

Ngoc Trinh-Tran Thoi

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