The output of agricultural products in the Mekong Delta region faces various difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, many farmers suffer losses. Meanwhile, the high-tech shrimp farming model still gains profit.
As a pioneer in applying high-tech shrimp farming, Mr. Ngô Minh Tuấn, at Phú Thạnh commune, Tân Phú Đông district, owns 30 hectares of white leg shrimp. Recently, just in a pond, Mr. Tuấn has harvested 40 tons of white leg shrimp, priced at 85,000 VND/kg/30 pieces. Although this price is 20,000VND lower than it was prior to the pandemic, it is still profitable. Meanwhile, farmers following the traditional shrimp farming model suffer severe losses because the price of shrimp has declined by 30,000-40,000 VND/kg.
Mr. Ngô Minh Tuấn said that high-tech shrimp farming had numerous considerable advantages, especially reducing disease risks, extending the time of farming to reach large sizes, and selling at high prices: “Currently, there is a scarcity of natural shrimp, farmers invest in high-tech shrimp farming rather than the traditional one. The price of high-tech shrimp sized from 30 pieces/kg slightly drops by 20,000 VND/kg in comparison to the pre-pandemic period. Therefore, farmers tend to gradually convert to high-tech farming approaches because it is less disease-prone and gains higher output’’.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused difficulties in shrimp consumption, by extension, a sharp decline in the shrimp price since the beginning of August. In Tiền Giang province, shrimp with a size of 100 pieces/kg are sold at below 50,000 VND/kg; 50 pieces/kg at 80,000 VND – 85,000 VND/kg; 30 pieces/kg at 110,000- 120,000 VND/kg. Traditional shrimp farmers are not profitable at this price due to increased costs. In contrast, the high-tech shrimp farming model still gains profits since most shrimp are sold below a size of 50 pieces/kg at a high price.
Tân Phú Đông district has the largest area of shrimp farming in Tiền Giang province with more than 4,600 hectares of aquaculture, of which 55 hectares are high-tech shrimp farming, the remaining is industrial and extensive farming (2700 hectares). Local people are replicating this model due to its profit.
In Bến Tre province, cultured sea shrimp prices also drop sharply although farmers rush to harvest. Notably, shrimp sizing 50-100 pieces/kg decreases by 30,000 – 50,000 VND/kg; hence, farmers suffer severe losses. The traditional shrimp farming model has difficulties in output and is not profitable because most ponds cannot raise large-sized shrimp (30 pieces/kg). This is completely contrary to high-tech shrimp farming.
An advantage of high-tech shrimp farming is that shrimp can be farmed until reaching large sizes because they can be transferred to other ponds in many stages. Shrimps reared in nursery ponds for 25 days may be transferred to grow-out ponds and other ponds after 40 days and the next 50 days. Shrimped can only reach a size of 20 pieces/kg with a stocking density of about 50-60 pieces/m2. Farmers can harvest a yield of over 40 tons/crop in a hectare.
Thạnh Phú district (Bến Tre province) has about 500 hectares of farming high-tech white leg shrimp. About 80% of shrimp ponds earn profits despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Đào Công Thương, Chairman of Thạnh Phú District People’s Committee, said that high-tech shrimp farming was an indispensable direction. The district was striving to achieve 1,500 hectares of high-tech shrimp by 2025 as the Resolution of the district Party Committee.
Mr. Đào Công Thương also said that: “Shrimp has stable output, but the price is low. More than 80% of high-tech shrimp farming models earn a profit. Banks support loans for this model because it requires large capital. Feed and breeding companies’ representatives come to each household to guide them about the model; the bank guarantees to grant a loan”.
According to the Bến Tre Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the whole province has nearly 2,000 hectares of brackish water shrimp applying high technology. This new farming method has a good ability to control diseases with high productivity and quality. The average profit is 700-800 million VND/hectares/crop, 4 times higher compared to intensive shrimp farming. Notably, this enclosed model helps isolate the environment from disease in the early stages, raise at high density with high survival rates, culture shrimp until reaching a large size, facilitate increased productivity.
Aquaculture, including shrimp farming, is one of the key economic sectors in the Mekong Delta. In fact, the high-tech shrimp farming model has achieved remarkable achievement. It should be replicated because thanks to this model, many farmers get rich, avoid risks of natural disasters and pandemics, and adapt to climate change.