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May 16, 2008

High costs hit fish farmers

Falling tra and basa catfish prices and rising overheads have cost farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta VND300 billion ($18.75 million) since March.

During the last two months the price of tra and basa catfish has dropped by VND1,000 to VND1,200 a kilo to VND14,000 to VND13,500 ($0.87$0.84).

Meanwhile, the price of fishmeal has soared since the beginning of the year.

"The feed price has risen by more than 40 per cent, making production costs soar to VND16,000 (US$1) for every kilo of fish.

"With the prevailing sale price, farmers are suffering losses of VND2,000 a kilogram," said Bui Huu Tri, chairman of the Can Tho Seafood Association.

As a result, the livelihoods of thousands of catfish farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are under threat, he said.

In the Mekong Delta, large numbers of fish farms have been forced to close. In An Giang Province alone, about 20 per cent of fish farming families have gone out of business.

"The situation has never been as tragic as nowadays," said Tri from the Can Tho Seafood Association.

According to the Mekong Delta Seafood Association, 100,000 tonnes of fish are waiting to be sold every day.

However, all 20 seafood processing factories in An Giang Province are reported to be functioning at reduced capacity.

As a result, authorities in An Giang, Dong Thap, Vinh Long and Can Tho City have requested financial support from the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry.

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