Low shrimp prices cause difficulties for farmers, enterprises

In recent days, the prices of material shrimps, especially giant tiger shrimps, dropped sharply, causing hundreds of thousands of shrimp-farming households in the Mekong Delta to face difficulties while shrimp export enterprises were also hurt as they could not export their products, making inventory higher and higher.

Low shrimp prices cause difficulties for farmers, enterprises

Ms. Pham Thi Loan, a farmer in An Trach A Commune in Dong Hai District in Bac Lieu Province, said that she has just harvested more than 30 kilograms of giant tiger shrimps sized 30-40 pcs per kilogram and collected roughly VND3.8 million. Meanwhile, in the previous harvest, she harvested only 28 kilograms of shrimps but earned more than VND4.5 million. Shrimp farming currently has entered the peak season but with such decreasing prices, farmers will not earn any profit.

According to shrimp farmers in coastal areas in Kien Giang, Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, and Soc Trang provinces, the prices of shrimps have never declined so strongly in a short time as currently, of which, the prices of giant tiger shrimps dropped most. Just in over a week, the prices of shrimps fell by VND70,000 per kilogram while in comparison with the same period last year, the prices of giant tiger shrimps sank by VND100,000-VND140,000 per kilogram, depending on each kind.

According to statistics, in the third week of March this year, the price of giant tiger shrimps sized 20 pcs per kilogram was at VND170,000-VND200,000 per kilogram, down VND60,000 per kilogram compared to last week; sized 30 pcs per kilogram at VND130,000-VND170,000 per kilogram, down VND70,000 per kilogram; sized 40 pcs per kilogram at VND90,000-VND130,000 per kilogram, down VND40,000 per kilogram. The prices of white-leg shrimps dropped more slightly. The price of white-leg shrimps sized 100 pcs per kilogram raised in plastic-lined ponds was at VND72,000-VND78,000 per kilogram, down VND20,000 per kilogram; raised in conventional ponds at VND65,000-VND75,000 per kilogram, down VND16,000 per kilogram.

According to farmers, with the current price level, especially white-leg shrimps, farmers face high risks. Mr. Tran Van Kiet, a farmer in Tan Dan Commune, Dam Doi District in Ca Mau Province, said that depending on experience and technical knowledge, the crop will be successful more or less. But for the current ways of raising shrimps in conventional ponds, the price of shrimps sized 100 pcs per kilogram must be above VND80,000 per kilogram for farmers to earn profits. With the current prices of shrimps, many farmers will halt shrimp farming.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ca Mau Province, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected negatively the purchasing, processing, and exporting activities of enterprises and the situation of shrimp farming in the province. Some enterprises and traders have stopped buying or bought shrimps at low prices, causing the prices of shrimps to unusually fall. Shrimp farmers have been concerning that they will not be able to sell shrimps in the months to come. Unable to determine the prices of shrimps in the market, some farmers sold their shrimps even when their shrimps were not ready for harvest at extremely low prices.

According to shrimp export enterprises in the Mekong Delta, although trade between Vietnam and China resumed as border gates had reopened, the volume of goods cleared was small. The transportation of goods was also restricted when goods entered inland, so the number of shrimps consumed was low. As for the EU’s market, most signed import contracts were delayed at least to the end of April this year and no new import contracts will be signed. The US market still maintains importing shrimps from Vietnam but has shown signs of a slowdown. The export of shrimps to the remaining market also faced difficulties due to the pandemic.

Mr. Le Van Su, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ca Mau Province, said that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, all export markets of shrimps were affected. Although the fisheries industry reacted quickly and actively, as policies have not sufficiently issued, the concretization of policies to support enterprises remains slow.

The provincial People’s Committee ordered the Department of Industry and Trade to collaborate with relevant departments to collect information from seafood processing and exporting enterprises in the provinces to put forward suitable solutions, at the same time, propose the Government to have appropriate policies for shrimp processing enterprises.

By Tan Thai – Translated by Gia Bao

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