December 11, 2008
Vietnamese fish breeders struggle in flood aftermath
Floods triggered by heavy downpours in Hanoi last month is taking a heavy toll on the fisheries sector, putting breeders in a struggle with the scarcity of fish fry (baby fish) and the rocketing price of the product.
According to the Hanoi Agriculture and Rural Development (HARD), the city lost 15,000 hectares out of total 18,000 hectares of aquatic product during the historical rains.
Although the number of breeding households in the outlying districts of the city has not yet been totalled up, the consequences are already proving dire.
Nearly one month has passed since the rains drenched the whole Phuong Tu Commune in Ung Hoa District; about 50 kilometres away from the city centre where it was submerged, in flood water, making the atmosphere gloomy.
The commune, which has the biggest fish granaries in the district, has 241 households engaged in breeding fish in a 442-hectare water farming area.
Communal People's Committee chairman Dang Van Chuan said the commune used to supply the market between 2,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes of fish annually.
Chuan said most breeders affected are in miserable circumstances to clear off bank loans, some owing up to VND1 billion.
Most households complained they had not yet been able to resume their fishing business because of the fries' high prices and scarcity.
The head of HARD, Vu Minh Duc said the breeding section also complained that the department could merely supply about 15 percent of fish fry to the market although it has had 17 foundations specialising in breeding fish fry.
A breeder in Hoa Son Commune said fish fry has increased between VND5,000 and VND9,000 per kilogram depending on different types of fish.
In an attempt to help breeders restore their business, the Hanoi People's Committee already financed VND15 million per hectare of aquaculture for losers.
HARD has also asked breeders to raise their fish after the cold season to supply market demand during Lunar New Year, though forecasts show that just about 5,000 hectares of fish would be supplied in the outlying districts of the city.
US$1 = VND16,985 (Dec 11)