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Catfish Farmers Face Hard Times

VIET NAM - Catfish farmers in Viet Nam are losing money because of rising costs and a slump in prices.

In recent months tra catfish farmers in the Mekong Delta have found that processors are reluctant to buy their fish.

One fish farmer from An Giang Province, Nguyen Thien Pha, told the Thanh Nien newspaper that he had been forced to sell 100,000 kilograms at VND13,900 each, which brought a loss of VND150 million (US$9,287).

"I'm lucky to sell my fish," he told the newspaper.

"These days, the longer you hold on to your fish, the more you will lose."

Small and middle sized operations have also been hit as banks have ben tightening up on loans.

According to the Mekong River Delta Fisheries Association, tra farmers harvest around 100,000 tons every month, but processing plants are only buying small quantities.

The 20 factories in An Giang Province are working below capacity. The chairman of the An Giang Fisheries Association, Phan Van Danh, said most of them only worked at 30 per cent of capacity.

In the last two weeks, a kilogram of raw tra has fallen by VND500 to VND14,000. In areas along the upper parts of the Tien and Hau rivers, the price is even lower - just VND13,800.

View the Thanh Nien News story by clicking here.