Shrimp farming in the Mekong Delta: the pricing dilemma
Shrimp farmers in the Mekong Delta are eager and confident to enter the brackish water shrimp crop in 2021 thanks to high shrimp prices and favorable weather and environment. However, there were many worries, when the shrimp crop started to ramp up, the price of shrimp began to decrease while the price of shrimp feed and other farming materials increased sharply.
Mr. Chau Minh Tam, one of the shrimp farmers in Long Phú District, Sóc Trăng province said: “Actually from the beginning of 2021, the price of shrimp feed and many other input costs have started to show signs. However, after the price of shrimp started to decrease, many people were startled when they looked at the input price list and began to worry.” The worry of shrimp farmers is increasing when the price of type 30-100 shrimps per kg has been continuously decreasing for more than 1 month and the price of input materials, especially the price of shrimp feed, has also increased compared to the beginning of the year.
According to a recent survey by a reporter from the Vietnam Fisheries Magazine, each kilogram of shrimp feed increases by an average of 1,600 – 2,600 VND/kg. Not only the price of food, the prices of some other inputs and materials such as plastic tarpaulin, potassium permanganate, chlorine, biological products, etc. have all increased compared to last year. According to farmers’ calculations, with the increase of raw materials and inputs above, if farming is productive, the price per kilogram of shrimp could still increase by about 4,000 VND/kg compared to the same period last year. It is a little surprising that although the cost per kilogram of shrimp at harvest increased by about 4,000 VND/kg, people’s worries were focused on the price of shrimp. Because as long as the price of shrimp does not decrease further, the farmers assume that their profit will still be higher than in the same period if farming achieves good productivity.
Talking to us about the above situation, Mr. Ngo Cong Luan – Director of Agriculture and Fishery Cooperative 14/10 of Mỹ Xuyên district, Sóc Trăng province analyzed: “In last year’s farming season, although input costs did not increase, there were times when farmers still have to suffer losses because the price of shrimp is too low. For example, the price of Vannamei shrimp of 100 pcs/kg, once dropped to only 65,000 VND/kg, break-even was the ideal goal for people at that time. Therefore, although currently, the price of aquafeed and some input costs have increased, if farming is productive, farmers still get a good profit, even for small and medium-sized shrimp. For the large size shrimp, the profit is still very high.”
According to Mr. Vo Van Phuc – General Director of Vietnam Clean Seafood Joint Stock Company: it is true that raw materials and inputs this year have increased compared to last year, but only increased recently and the increase was not too high. Mr. Phuc shared: “Some input factors increased sharply, such as chlorine, potassium permanganate, tarpaulin … but this amount only accounts for a small part of the price of shrimp, while shrimp feed has only increased about 5%. In general, the price of shrimp farming only increased by about 4-5% over the same period last year, while the price of shrimp this year is several tens of percent higher than the same period last year. With high productivity, farmers still have good profits. Although the current shrimp price still ensures a good profit for farmers, farmers have already lost about 4 million VND in profit per ton of shrimp.
Thus, it can be seen that shrimp farmers are worried that shrimp prices will decrease more than input costs increase. According to the majority of farmers, the weather and environment since the beginning of the year have been quite favorable, diseases have rarely occurred and most of the harvested shrimp areas have achieved quite high yields. In Sóc Trăng, the farming area at the beginning of the year is about 23,5000 ha, reaching 46% of the plan but the damage is only 753 ha. And although it has only harvested nearly 3,500 hectares, the shrimp output has been more than 31,000 tons, equivalent to 18% of the whole year plan target. It is currently the time of high stocking and the price of input materials and materials is still higher than the same period last year, but shrimp farmers also temporarily forgot about the fear of increasing input prices because the price of shrimps ranged from 30 to 70 pcs/kg from the second week of June has increased again 2,000 – 3,000 VND/kg.
However, whether the price of shrimp feed will increase further when the demand increases in the near future and will the price of shrimp at harvest still be maintained at a high level is a mystery. The important thing to do at this moment is taking good care of the stocking to achieve high productivity to ensure profits for the farming crop.