Due to the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as many as 52/106 pangasius processing factories in An Giang, Đồng Tháp, Cần Thơ, Hậu Giang, Vĩnh Long were forced to close, accounting for nearly 50%.
According to the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by mid-September 2021, the total pangasius farming area will have reached 3,516 ha, equal to 74.3% of the same period last year. The pangasius farming area in July and August (two months of social distancing) decreased by 50-55% from the previous months before the social distancing measures was imposed.
The total pangasius output is estimated to reach 932 thousand tons, equal to 81% of the same period last year. In two months of social distancing alone, the pangasius output decreased by 20% and nearly 45% respectively as compared to the same period last year. Especially, in the first half of September, the output decreased by 77% from the sale period last year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 176/449 pangasius processing facilities have been forced to close by early September 2021, accounting for over 39%, because they could not afford the production costs and “three on-site” requirements. A total of 52/106 pangasius processing factories in An Giang, Đồng Tháp, Cần Thơ, Hậu Giang và Vĩnh Long had to close, accounting for 49%. More than 70% of workers are forced to stop working due to the pandemic. Processing factories had to decrease their capacity and cut their purchases of material, mainly from farming areas owned by enterprises or the supply chain. Prices of commercial pangasius type I remained between 21,000 and 22,000 dong/kg, 500d/kg less than what they were before the social distancing scheme.
According to VASEP, just 30-40% of enterprises are qualified enough to restore their operations right after the social distancing ends. The rest of them may find it difficult or need a long time to recover.
According to Dương Nghĩa Quốc from the Vietnam Pangasius Society, the State Bank of Vietnam has produced lots of solutions to credit so as to tackle difficulties faced by customers in the fisheries industry. However, many enterprises have not been entitled to such support.
During the online conference of solutions to pangasius development after social distancing held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in association with the Đồng Tháp Provincial Committee, attendants had comments that for stable seafood production and aquaculture, lockdown should be removed in wholesale markets soon, a smooth travel scheme should be built so that farmers can travel among material areas to facilitate the stocking and care for pangasius.
Furthermore, farmers working in a pangasius production chain (from production to processing) should be preferentially given Covid-19 vaccination so as to assure human resources for the production.