It has been over a week since price of material pangasius in the Mekong Delta suffered a slump. Moreover, climate and diseases have made production fall and number of fish fries decrease, leaving considerable concern to local farmers.
Currently, ex-pond price of pangasius ranges from 24,000 to 25,000 dong/kg, down 4,000 – 6,000 dong/kg compared to last month. According to farmers, producing one kilogram of 6 – 7 month-old commercial pangasius costs them 23,000 – 24,000 dong. With such price, they have no profit, or worse they may get loss; while farming companies suffered major loss due to labor cost.
Nguyễn Duy Linh, who manages the farming zone of Thốt Nốt Aquaculture Cooperative in Cần Thơ City said that pangasius price had been increasing for more than a year, encouraging the Cooperative to team up with companies to invest into ten growing ponds with one hectare of surface water each. The stocking took place in June 2018 and as of now farmers can get the harvest in because pangasius weighs up from 800 gram to one kilogram each. However, the slump in price has made them hesitant. According to Linh, it is a challenge to produce 400 – 600 tons from the one-hectare pond due to bad weather, disqualified fries and polluted water resource. Although farmers spend 5 – 6 billion dong on one-hectare pond for each crop, their production just reaches 60% – 70% as compared to previous years.
According to Lê Chí Bình, Vice Chairman of Vietnam Pangasius Society and Vice Chairman of An Giang Fisheries Association (AFA), farmers and companies achieved great success in fish farming last year. Slump in material pangasius is now posing radical challenges to the sector.
In the opinion of pangasius export companies in the Mekong Delta, great success in 2018 has made a large number of farmers and companies expand their ponds to make use of high price of pangasius. However early 2019, these companies have not entered any major contract with importers from the US and China, slowing down the pangasius export market. Meanwhile, local pangasius exporters are stocking pangasius in warehouses and get the farms ready for harvesting, but very few of them are sold. Pangasius price, therefore, has fallen. However, it is forecasted to rise once the US and China market start making their deals with us.