Noticeable falling in price of snakeskin gourami was recorded recently in Cà Mau, making farmers suffer from a huge loss.
Trần Văn Thời and U Minh are two largest districts of Cà Mau to rear snakeskin gourami by intensive-farming. The system was the most successful between 2010 and 2014 when snakeskin gourami was sold at 50,000 – 70,000 VND per kilogram (up to sizes), making farmers earn hundred million VND per hectares each crop.
Phạm Văn Thục is one of farmers earning a lot of money from snakeskin gourami intensive farming in Trần Hợi commune, Trần Văn Thời district. This is the first time in the last ten years price of commercial snakeskin gourami has become that low while price of feed and expense increased. The situation has made farmers to leave the ponds empty or rear other species instead. Price of snakeskin gourami is now sold at 25,000 – 40,000 VND/kg.
According to Agriculture and Rural Development Department in Trần Văn Thời, the district gets total 74 ha for snakeskin gourami farming, down 140 ha year on year. Local farmers said that one of the reasons which led to the fall of price was supply over demand. Snakeskin gourami farming has been rather a recent development in not only Cà Mau but also An Giang and Đồng Tháp where farmers even got higher productivity and spent less on input materials and feed. Snakeskin gourami from An Giang and Đồng Tháp, therefore, was sold at lower price in Cà Mau, leaving difficulties for local farmers to compete.
In order to help farmers remain their ponds, Agriculture and Rural Development Department in Trần Văn Thời district developed project “Improvement of productivity, quality and efficiency in snakeskin gourami intensive-farming” which was funded two billion dong. Farmers who participated into the project were supported with fries, feed, drug and training courses. However the difficulties that farmers had been facing still remained.
Trần Thanh Hải, Chairman of Farmers Society of Trần Văn Thời district said that quality of snakeskin gourami of Cà Mau was different from other areas as the fish is more delicious, besides the province’s dry fish was recognized with brand “U Minh dry snakeskin gourami” by National Office of Intellectual Property (under Ministry of Science and Technology).
Some people are making dry snakeskin gourami using materials from other places but local fish, leading the continual fall in price of this kind. Snakeskin gourami is the key product in Project of restructuring agriculture industry in some areas of Cà Mau. However if price remains low in the next time, more farmers will leave their job.