Catfish farmers try to boost production

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
16 February 2007, at 12:00am

HCM CITY - Farmers in the Mekong Delta are scrambling to increase catfish output as a massive supply shortage despite skyrocketing prices sees processors working at half capacity.

Breeders feed catfish in Van Giao Commune, Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province. Tra and basa catfish prices have hit record highs due to seasonal demand and low supply from ponds nationwide.

Tra and basa catfish prices have been rising since 2006 with Phan Van Danh, chairman of the An Giang Aquatic Produce Breeding and Processing Association, saying they had reached a record VND17,000 per kilogram, an increase of 40-50 per cent compared to the same period last year.

But despite this, seafood processors are snapping up all available supplies, even of immature fish, as they face a severe shortage of raw materials.

In An Giang Province, 10 seafood processing plants have been working at just 50-60 per cent of capacity while several plants have allowed their workers to leave for the Tet holiday three or four days early.

Catfish farmers have been earning an average profit of VND5,000 per kilogram, and are happy to expand output. Many have bought land to dig fish ponds, sending land prices spiralling to double that of the last few years.

Source: VNS