On July 7, the departments of Agriculture and Rural Development of provinces in the Mekong Delta said that currently, the price of pangasius fish continued to hover at a low level, causing several fish-farming households to face difficulties. Particularly, the price of pangasius fish fluctuates from VND17,500 to VND19,000 per kilogram, with this price level, farmers suffer a fairly heavy loss from VND3,500-VND5,000 per kilogram.
Several pangasius farmers in the Mekong Delta have suffered huge losses due to prolonged low prices. (Photo: SGGP) According to the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), this year, provinces in the Mekong Delta planned to raise around 6,600 hectares of pangasius fish with an estimated production of around 1.42 million tons. However, since the beginning of this year, the price of commercial pangasius fish lingered at VND19,000 per kilogram downwards, much lower than the cost price. The pangasius farming area increased rapidly while consumption encountered difficulties due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic that developed complicatedly in many countries, making the price of pangasius fish plummet. Moreover, other countries have also increased pangasius fish farming in recent years to compete with Vietnamese pangasius fish. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the global pangasius fish production in 2018 reached 2.8 million tons, up 6 percent compared to 2017; of which, Vietnam accounted for around 1.3 million tons or 45 percent of total pangasius fish production in the world. Indonesia and Bangladesh produced around 300,000-400,000 tons each and India 855,500 tons.
Pangasius processing for export in the Mekong Delta faces difficulties as consumption is slow. (Photo: SGGP) The Directorate of Fisheries noted that as pangasius production increased rapidly in India, it might encourage investors to build pangasius processing factories here. Indonesia has been promoting trade promotion into the Middle East market by launching an exclusive product line for this market. China currently has 20 pangasius processing plants with an estimated production capacity of 30,000 tons and is promoting pangasius farming and processing to serve domestic consumption first. Therefore, in the near future, the pangasius industry of Vietnam will possibly face many difficulties due to its potential competitors.
The current solution is to closely monitor the market movements to immediately meet the export requirements of countries that resume imports when the pandemic eases. Processing plants need to diversify products according to each market segment; encourage farmers and processing enterprises to join the supply chain to produce following the market signals, avoiding oversupply or a shortage of raw materials for export; Besides, promoting seeking new markets, redirecting export markets instead of focusing on some main markets.
By Huynh Loi – Translated by Thanh Nha