March 27, 2020

 

Vietnamese province's shrimp producers reeling from pandemic as prices drastically fall

 

 

Shrimp exporters and farmers in Ca Mau in Vietnam, which is one of the country's top five shrimp-producing provinces, are feeling the pinch due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with prices falling by over 50%.

 

Tran Hoang Em, secretary general of the Ca Mau Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (CASEP), said raw black tiger shrimp is currently priced at around VND180,000 (US$7.62) per kilogramme (20 pieces/kg), down VND100,000 ($4.23) compared with prices before the lunar new year, Vietnam News Agency reported on Wednesday, March 25.

 

The provincial Department of Industry and Trade said the province has earned just more than $140 million since January, down over 18% year-on-year.

 

The drop is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many big partners to postpone orders due to travel restrictions. Shipments to the US, for example, have fallen 66.7% to about $16 million, and 67.7% to China to over $4.5 million, as per report.

 

With overseas trade promotions suspended, exporters have fewer or lack opportunities to seek new buyers.

 

Farmers also don't know who to sell to if processors do not buy materials. Ca Mau supplies around 200,000 tonnes of raw shrimp for the market each year, according to Em of CASEP.

 

Em said businesses are hoping that the government will issue a loan package to help those affected by COVID-19 to obtain capital for buying and stockpiling materials.

 

The Ca Mau industry and trade department, meanwhile, has reportedly coordinated with other departments and sectors to draw up policy proposals related to credit, social insurance, electricity and taxation to the provincial People's Committee to help businesses purchase and keep products in stock while waiting for export opportunities.

 

Ca Mau has the country's largest aquaculture area (about 300,000 hectares), posting annual aquatic export earnings of nearly $1.2 billion on average.