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Catfish and shrimp farmers struggle as markets shrink

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Both catfish and shrimp are meeting difficulties in exports because of the shrinking market. However, while catfish farmers still can make a profit, farmers of white-legged shrimp cannot.

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The catfish price continued the downward trend in July


The catfish price in Mekong Delta continued the downward trend in July. First-class fish now sells at VND25,000-27,000 per kilogram in large production areas of An Giang, Vinh Long and Dong Thap. 

The price represents VND3,000 per kilo reduction compared with the month before. 

While the price of finished products is on the decrease, the input cost tends to rise. Fish breeder prices have slightly increased because of weather changes. One kilogram of breeders is selling for VND30,000.

Source said that Chinese importers have halted buying catfish to gather strength to sell the products they imported before. As a result, exporters have decreased the collections of fish from farmers, though current weather conditions are favorable for starting a new crop.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has reassured the public that catfish prices from now to the end of the year would still be high enough to bring profit to farmers.

As for shrimp, while the price of black tiger shrimp is on the rise, the price of white-legged shrimp is not.

In Bac Lieu province, iced black tiger shrimp sized 30-40 is sold at VND170,000-190,000, an increase of VND20,000 over the month before. Meanwhile, white-legged shrimp sized 50 sold at VND105,000, and sized 60 VND95,000.

Despite the recovery in price, white-legged shrimp still cannot bring profit to farmers because the current selling price is equal to the production cost. The shrimp price at this moment is still VND20,000 per kilogram lower than in the same period last year.

The hardships are attributed to the sharp fall in demand from the US market caused by high inventory. It is also difficult to sell shrimp to China which has tightened control over shrimp smuggling.

However, state management agencies still predicted that the shrimp price would increase by 20 percent in August or September in comparison with June.

What will China-US trade war bring to shrimp & catfish?

In the long term, analysts believe that the trade war will bring more opportunities to Vietnam to boost exports to the US.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), exporters hope they can obtain more white-meat fish market share in the US, where Chinese tilapia is the most competitive product.

Since the US imposed a tax of 10 percent on seafood imports from China, tilapia sales at Chinese large supermarkets have decreased by 20-30 percent.

As for shrimp, the US will tax 10 percent on Chinese shrimp products with HS codes 03061700, 16052105, 16052110, 16052905 and 16052910. These are advantageous products of Vietnam in the US market.



Source:  VietNamNet

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