Since the start of the week, material tra fish prices have continued on a strong downtrend to below VND20,000 a kilo in An Giang, Dong Thap and Tien Giang provinces in the Mekong Delta, lower than farmers’ production costs.
One kilo of white-meat fish eligible for export is priced at a meager VDN20,000-20,300, down by VND2,000 a kilo from ten days ago, said farmer Tang Trinh in Dong Thap Province. This means fish prices have slid by VND7,000-7,500 a kilo compared to this year’s record high of nearly VND28,000 of the same category.
Meanwhile, local seafood processors and exporters are paying only VND18,500-19,000 for one kilo of other kinds of tra fish, the lowest level recorded since last year.
According to the An Giang Fishery Association (AFA), tra fish meeting export standards is being bought at a price of VND23,000-23,500 a kilo by eight local large seafood firms. In reality, local farmers could sell the yield at only VND20,000-21,000 for the first-grade fish, and VND19,000-19,500, for one kilo of grades 2 and 3 as observed by the Daily.
“Local firms insist on pulling down tra fish prices and we have no choice but to sell all or we will incur more losses,” farmer Vo Van Thanh in Chau Thanh District said.
“We spend at least between VND23,000 and VND24,000 producing one kilo of tra fish, so we are suffering a loss of between VND3,000 to VND5,000 for one kilo with the current low price,” Trinh stated.
The same situation has also hit tra breeder fish, with its price staying at VND35,000 a kilo for grade-1 fish and VND38,000-40,000 for the second grade.
About 30% of local farming areas have been deserted in Chau Thanh District, the key commercial tra fish farming area in Dong Thap Province.
As of last Friday, farmers in the province had abandoned tra fish farms totaling 80 hectares, reported the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Trinh attributed the lamentable situation to the sharp price fall of tra fish discouraging farmers regardless of dipping breeder fish prices.
Farmers in Chau Phu District in An Giang Province said suspending farms would keep rising if tra fish prices remain at the current lows.