July 3, 2008


Vietnam's Mekong Delta catfish sector hit by poor market conditions

Catfish farmers in Mekong Delta are having a major headache due to combined factors of stagnant consumption, low catfish prices, overproduction and lack of funds.


Deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong said on Monday (June 30, 2008) that low consumption is causing losses for catfish farmers while seafood producers and exporters are still having difficulties in borrowing money from local banks.


Processors lack money to buy full-grown fish in Mekong Delta and the problem cannot be solved before the end of August, according to the agriculture ministry.


Processors have also bought only half of the total 300,000 tonnes of catfish in the region, Phuong said, but he added that the real figure of stockpiled catfish could be greater than the reported figures he had.


Catfish producers in the Delta are selling catfish at only VND 13,000 or less per kilogramme, even though the floor price is at VND 14,000 per kilogramme.


Domestic seafood producers and exports are unwilling to buy mature catfish as global demand is on the decline and also because they are cash-strapped.


The Ministry and domestic seafood exporters have been promoting the consumption of Vietnam's processed catfish in North Africa and Eastern Europe to help find more potential markets for the country's catfish yield, Phuong said.


Last month, Vietnam's Agriculture and Rural Development Bank announced it is ready to provide VND1 trillion worth of loans for Mekong Delta's fish processors.


US$1 = VND 16,741 (July 3, 2008)

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