October 1, 2012
Vietnam reviews soft credit package for pangasius fish industry
In an effort to put forward measures to better support local fish raisers and processors, Vietnam will review the implementation of the government's soft credit package worth VND9 trillion (US$430 million) for pangasius fish industry in the Mekong Delta region.
The review will be conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in three provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap, and Vinh Long, and Can Tho City, which are four major pangasius fish breeding areas in the region.
The move came after many local farmers and enterprises complained that they have not yet had any access to the package due to strict requirement for loan appraisal.
The money remains out of reach to many fish farmers in the region who need funds to buy feed and fry - for breeding - and expand their business.
Tran Van Kiet, a breeder in An Giang province's Phu Tan District who has a one-hectare farm, said he needed money to buy feed for his fish, which weigh 0.5-0.7 kilogramme each.
"I have heard of the Government's soft loans to support pangasius fish farmers, but cannot get access to it. To survive, I decided to feed my fish with feed we produce ourselves."
Vo Van Thanh, a farmer in An Nhon Commune in Dong Thap province's Chau Thanh district, said even after recent price hikes, pangasius fish is selling below production cost.
Mai Thi Anh Tuyet, director of the An Giang Department of Industry and Trade, said that banks should not demand collateral for these loans since the farmers and processors had mortgaged most of their assets to banks for earlier loans.
Since early this year, pangasius fish raisers, processors and exporters in the region have faced capital shortage to maintain normal operations. High interest rate and lack of capital have forced many of them to scale down business to avoid losses.
Due to limited production, prices of fresh pangasius fish have fallen sharply, causing huge losses to local fish breeders.
Pangasius fish is one of Vietnam's export staples. In 2012, the country expects to earn US$2 billion from shipping pangasius fish abroad, up from US$1.8 billion in 2011.