Aquaculture for all

Vietnamese Catfish Price Falls in Recession

VIET NAM - The price of tra and basa catfish fell by VND900,000 (US$56) per tonne this week, due to the global recession, according to the Industry and Trade Department of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang.

Currently the price of catfish in An Giang and Can Tho provinces stands at VND15,300 to VND16,000 per kilo.

The declining price is due to both importers and domestic exporters finding it hard to raise capital due to the global credit crunch.

Domestic companies now face many difficulties in exporting catfish. Banks nation-wide are tightening credit controls and as a result exporters do not have the capital resources to purchase fish stock from farmers.

Importers are also affected by the limited availability of bank credit in these times of financial crisis, and now prefer to defer payment. This has caused stagnation in the export sector, say businessmen.

The global recession is strongly affecting catfish exports and the situation will worsen in the near future, predicts Luong Hoang Manh, chairman of the Mekong Fisheries Joint Stock Company.

Viet Nam exports catfish to nearly 80 countries and territories. However, the biggest markets are Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the EU.

And this year things are looking ominous, orders from Russia and Ukraine have slowed considerably. Russia last year imported $155.6 million worth of catfish and Ukraine imported $104.7 million. The rising value of the US dollar is also creating difficulties as catfish becomes more expensive in Europe.

The Ministry of Agriculture predicts the last three months of this year will be most important, as the target of $1.5 billion in catfish export turnover seems unreachable in the current economic climate.

Farmers should try to sell catfish now, rather than wait for high prices in the future, suggests Nguyen Ngoc Hai, head of a co-operative in O Mon District, Can Tho Province.

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