Before the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the salmon consumption market slowed down, cold-water fish farmers in Liên Minh commune (Sa Pa town) changed the breed structure in the direction of focusing on raising sturgeon. This is considered a suitable solution, although there are concerns about output when the output of sturgeon increases rapidly compared to the demand.
Liên Minh commune is one of the cold water fish farming “granaries” in Sa Pa. With cold-water fish farming, people have effectively exploited local water resources and climate, thereby creating models for high income, contributing to economic restructuring and sustainable poverty reduction. Although it has not reached the large scale and output like in Ngũ Chí Sơn, Ô Quy Hồ or Tà Văn communes, the quality of salmon and sturgeon in Liên Minh is still in high quality.
In the time when there was no Covid-19 epidemic, the number of tourists was large, the market for cold water fish was abundant, many people in Lien Minh borrowed funds to invest in fish tanks and got a great profit. In the last 2 years, the situation of the Covid-19 epidemic has been complicated, the market is uncertain, the price of salmon has dropped, causing many cold-water fish farming households to struggle. Households who have invested a large amount of capital in building fish tanks struggle with 2 options: If you do not maintain the aquarium, you will waste your investment, and if you continue to raise it, you will surely lose if the output does not improve. Therefore, farmers have chosen to change the breed structure to adapt to the epidemic situation. Accordingly, establishments increase the amount of sturgeon, reduce salmon in the rearing structure.
Mr.Nguyen Thai Binh’s salmon farm in Nậm Cang 1 village is the largest farming facility in Liên Minh commune. Mr.Binh is also one of the first to change the structure from focusing on raising salmon to raising sturgeon. Mr.Binh said: Breeding sturgeon at this time is very convenient because the selling price is quite high, averaging 180,000 VND/kg, equivalent to the price of salmon at the time when the Covid-19 epidemic had not occurred. Moreover, the advantage of raising sturgeon is that it can prolong the farming time, the larger the fish weight, the better the price. Meanwhile, salmon have to be sold when they havehaving eggs, otherwise they will die after laying eggs.
Mr. Phan Phu Seng, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Liên Minh Commune said: The commune currently has 11 cold-water fish farming establishments, most of which are small establishments, the largest one raising about 10,000 fishes, the rest mainly raising about 4,000 – 5,000 fishes. Previously, the price of salmon fluctuated around 180,000 – 200,000 VND/kg, but since the Covid-19 epidemic, the price of salmon has dropped sharply, only 130,000 VND/kg. Although the price is low, the price of feed tends to increase, so farmers are sure to lose. Facing that situation, the farming facilities in the area have gradually switched to raising sturgeon. Previously, the amount of sturgeon accounted for only 10% of the farming facilities, now accounts for 90%. The time of raising sturgeon is longer, so people do not have to worry about finding the output.
Cold-water fish farming establishments promoting structural transformation show people’s sensitivity to the market and disease situation. However, at the same time, many establishments focus on raising sturgeon, leading to a rapid increase in sturgeon production, which has exceeded the demand. Mr.Nguyen Thai Binh said: If the situation of fish farming continues as it is now, more than a year later, when the weight can be sold, the output of sturgeon in the area will be large, with a high probability of being pressured by traders. On the other hand, if the disease is controlled at that time, the source of sturgeon from many places will also flow to Sa Pa, which will affect the price of sturgeon. What people need now is that the authorities have information and orientation for farmers to increase or decrease the output accordingly, avoiding damage later.