Pangasius businesses and farmers are facing numerous difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Up to now, the complicated developments of the Covid-19 pandemic has posed various difficulties for the production and export activities of pangasius enterprises in the Mekong Delta. Consumption in many markets recovered; however, factories have been still struggling against the pandemic, lowering the export value and posing problems to exporters and farmers.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), by the end of September 2021, there were 6,828.3 hectares of farming pangasius nationwide; 3,086.7 hectares were harvested with an output of 987.4 thousand tons (equal to 90.5% over the same period in 2020). The pangasius output in July and August (2 months of social distancing) fell by 20% and 44.9%, respectively, over the same period. 

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Đồng Tháp province said that the whole province had 1,660.67 hectares of farming pangasius and 611 hectares of being harvested with a total output of 245,425 tons as of October 3, 2021. The price of raw pangasius was about 21,000 – 22,000 VND/kg while the average production cost was up to 22,355 VND/kg. At this price, farmers lost 355 – 1,855 VND/kg.

Some pangasius companies have temporarily closed for a few months due to failing to meet the “3 on-site” principle. Large enterprises still maintain operations but reduce their capacity. Enterprises face various obstacles such as lack of facilities, accrued expenses when applying the “3 on-site” principle for a long time. 

As of early October 2021, the total area of pangasius farming in An Giang province was 1,235ha, of which enterprises and associated farming households are 1,049ha ( 87%), non-affiliated households are 187 hectares with an estimated output of 400,000-450,000 tons/year, mainly in Châu Phú, Châu Thành, Chợ Mới, Phú Tân, and Long Xuyên districts. If only counting the commercial pangasius farming area of enterprises, by the end of September 2021, there were 37 farming areas with 852.7 hectares. The total amount of pangasius caught was 270,200 tons (achieving 97.96 percent over the same period in 2020).

An Giang Aquatic Breeding Center continues to produce fry and fingerlings. There are 41,823 broodstock in 8 hatcheries, with a supply capacity of 12 billion pieces per year. The province also has 998 pangasius hatcheries on an area of 900 hectares with an rearing capacity of 2-3 billion pcs/year, concentrated in Thoại Sơn, Châu Thành, Châu Phú, and Tân Châu districts. The current farming area is 593 hectares; the harvested output is 1.4 billion pieces, up 4.82% over the same period in 2020.

By the end of September 2021, only 6 out of 19 seafood companies in An Giang suspended operation under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This province allowed businesses to develop plans to reopen with the “3 green” principle (businesses in green areas – workers in green areas – workers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19).

Processing factories reduce their capacity and the purchase of input materials as a result of the implementation of social distancing. In the third quarter of 2021, the price of commercial grade 1 pangasius remained at 21,000 – 22,000 VND/kg, an increase of 3,000 – 4,500 VND/kg over the same period but still down 500 VND/kg compared to the period before the social distancing. In addition, the production of fingerlings also faces numerous difficulties; thus, many households reduce their capacity by up to 50% due to unfavorable weather. The price of30-35 pcs/kg fingerlings varies between 19,000 and 22,000 VND/kg.

In the first 9 months of this year, the average export price of frozen pangasius fillets was stable at 2.25 – 2.65 USD /kg, up 0.2 – 0.3 USD/kg over the same period in 2020.

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