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Tra, basa fish farmers reap record profits

VIETNAM - Tra and basa catfish prices have risen to record high levels as supply struggles to keep pace with demand, says Nguyen Van Thanh, director of the provincial Fisheries Department here.

Tra and basa now fetch VND16,000 (US$1) a kilogram in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region.

The reason for the price hike, according to the director, is the seasonal rise in demand in the world market over the Christmas to Tet (Lunar New Year) festive period.

In addition, the output from tra and basa breeding ponds has dipped due to ongoing investment concerns among farmers. In 2006, tra and basa prices were highly volatile, causing many farmers to opt for a more stable source of income.

Currently, the processing plants in the An Giang are only operating at 30-40 per cent capacity due to the lack of pond supplies.

Last year, the production of tra and basa in An Giang, which accounts for 80 per cent of the total breeding area in the Mekong Delta, was only 145,000 tonnes, down 25,000 tonnes compared to 2005.

Meanwhile, exports in 2006 grew by 72 per cent to 94,000 tonnes, adding to price volatility in the local market.

Source: VNS

the Fish Site Editor

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