Aquaculture for all

Mekong Shrimp Farmers Pushed to the Edge

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MEKONG DELTA, VIET NAM - It has been reported that a series of poor shrimp harvests in the Mekong Delta has left farmers unable to cope. Many have been forced to sell their land in a bid to put an end to mounting debt.

Huynh Van Gan of Bac Lieu Province told the Thanhniennews that the tiger prawn used to bring huge profits to farmers, helping many escape poverty with just one successful harvest.

“But now many of them have to sell their buffaloes, their farmland and even their houses to repay debts.

“That’s why it has been said that tiger prawns are gluttons because farmers have to sell everything they own to feed the prawns.”

According to the Thanhniennews, Tran Van Thong, chairman of Vinh Hau A Commune People’s Committee, said local shrimp farmers could not achieve high output, so they suffered huge losses and had to borrow a lot of money from banks.

The total outstanding loans of shrimp farmers in the commune have reached VND60 billion, 77 per cent of which are non-performing, he said.

Life in the commune, where most people earn their living by farming tiger prawns, is now really hard, Thong said, noting that more than 1,000 residents have had to leave their homes to look for new jobs.

Vietnam’s seafood exports are expected to fall 15-20 percent in value this year, with the two main products - shrimp and tra fish - being the hardest hit, Vietnam Economic Times reported recently, citing VASEP figures.

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