After about a month, the Mekong Delta localities implemented social distancing and businesses implemented “3 on the spot”; “1 road – 2 locations”, production, processing and export of pangasius were also turned upside down and faced many difficulties. Currently, many pangasius farming ponds have begun to harvest, but the price of raw fish has decreased from 500 to 1,000 VND/kg compared to before. Right at the time when the output market was very positive, the Covid-19 epidemic prevented the farming, trading and exporting plans of many pangasius enterprises in the last two quarters of the year.
According to Dong Thap Department of Agriculture and Rural Development – the locality with the largest pangasius farming area and output in the country, as of August 8, 2021, the province’s total pangasius farming area reaches more than 1,600 hectares (of which the area is in 2020). converted to more than 1,072 hectares); harvested area is nearly 553 hectares, harvested output is over 223 thousand tons. By mid-August 2021, the price of raw pangasius decreased to 20,500 – 21,500 VND/kg. The average cost to produce 1kg of raw fish is about 22,500 VND/kg, at this price the farmer loses 900 – 1,400 VND/kg.
During the past time of separation, in Dong Thap, the transportation of agricultural materials for aquaculture to the aquaculture area (aqua feed, veterinary medicine, aquatic products, …) is ensured smoothly and efficiently means of transport to ensure compliance with regulations; However, there are still some obstacles such as: the time limit of the Certificate of Quick Test Results is too short, causing costly and time consuming implementation.
Currently, Sa Dec, Lai Vung, Cao Lanh are the three “hot zones” of the Covid-19 epidemic in Dong Thap province. But according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the farming output of these localities is not large. Currently, most of the large pangasius farming areas are still in the “safe green zone”. Therefore, up to now, pangasius farming in Dong Thap has remained stable. The decrease in the price of raw fish is due to the fact that many processing factories have limited purchases due to reduced capacity or temporarily closed due to the epidemic.
In Can Tho, the price of many types of farmed fish also fell below the production cost, causing heavy losses to farmers. According to statistics, in Can Tho, the cost of raising pangasius for export is at 22,000-23,000 VND/kg, but raw pangasius can only be sold for 21,000-21,500 VND/kg back, so pangasius farmers also suffer a capital loss. By the end of July 2021, Can Tho city’s pangasius farming area reached more than 548ha, reaching 74% of the year plan of 736ha. Currently, the supply of pangasius for export is abundant, but the processing factory has also stopped or temporarily stopped buying raw materials. This led to a decrease in fish prices compared to the previous month.
In Vinh Long, by the end of July 2021, the whole province has over 2,100 hectares of aquaculture, down nearly 55 hectares compared to the same period last year, of which the area of intensive catfish farming is more than 334 hectares, down 12.2 hectares. Due to the widespread influence of the Covid-19 epidemic, the fish farming, transportation of raw materials and export products were affected, many pangasius processing enterprises stopped working or reduced capacity, so the price of raw pangasius in Vinh Long was also affected falling.
In July 2021, the price of pangasius in Vinh Long ranges from 20,000 to 22,000 VND/kg, pangasius farmers are not profitable, if they have to rent a tunnel pond, the loss will be even greater. That is also the reason for reducing the area of intensive farming of pangasius, it is forecasted that this trend will continue in the coming time.
From the second quarter of 2021, the demand for importing pangasius in many markets such as the US, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, Colombia, Russia, UAE… started to increase positively again. This adds energy and hope to pangasius exporters in the Mekong Delta in the last two quarters of the year. However, the Covid-19 epidemic has spread from Ho Chi Minh City to the western provinces in a short time. Despite pre-calculating the preparedness scenario in this situation, many pangasius processing and exporting enterprises cannot avoid being passive and seriously affected. Only when pangasius processing enterprises restore production and increase capacity back to normal, the price of raw pangasius can increase.