Vietnam’s pangasius exports have faced difficulties since earlier this year, spurred mainly by high inventories and unit prices.
According to VASEP, by July 2023, pangasius exports reached just USD 1 million, down 37% y-o-y. It is mainly attributed to inflation which resulted in soft demand, especially in major markets such as the US, EU, and China. Additionally, an important reason is a high inventory of pangasius in some importing countries. Drop in exports also resulted in domestic pangasius inventory.
Ong Hàng Văn, Deputy General Director of TG Fishery Holdings Corporation, said that due to soft demand, some farmers keep their fish in ponds much longer than normal and raise them to as large as 1 – 1.5 kg, more than the standard size of 900 grams. This will result in a higher inventory.
Văn said that the production cost of pangasius was 1 USD/kg before. The feed cost has increased sharply to 13,000 dong/kg, from the 10,000 dong/kg worth before the pandemic. The rising feed price contributed to the surge of production cost of pangasius, from 55% up to 75%.
The production cost of pangasius is 1.2 USD/kg now. Meanwhile, the selling price just stays at 1.1 USD/kg. Farmers are suffering a loss of 10 cent/kg, not to mention the processing cost in factories. The production cost of 1.2 USD/kg of pangasius makes it hard to compete against some other fishes such as pollock in the white fish market in the world.
So as to reduce the production cost of pangasius, Văn said that every single company works out its own method, but in general it has to be lowering the stocking density, preventing disease outbreaks, weighing up fast, and raising the fish conversion ratio.
VASEP predicts the pangasius export value to might reach USD 1.7 billion in 2023, down 30% from last year.