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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Fish feed price rise eats into farmers’ profit

By Trung Chanh

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HCMC – Although tra fish (pangasius) prices in the Mekong Delta have increased by around VND7,000 per kilogram against last year, tra fish farmers have seen their profits sliding.

There are two common types of tra fish farming models: contract farming or self-reliant farming, said Tran Tuan Nhieu, a tra fish farming household with farms in Vinh Long and Dong Thap provinces.

“For the former model, seafood processing companies give farmers some 1.5 kilograms of feed in return for a kilogram of fish,” he said. 

Meanwhile, farmers take care of things such as farming areas, breeding, medicine, electricity bills and staff’s salaries, he added. Farmers can make a profit of VND2,000 to VND2,500 for each kilogram of fish.

“Farmers will get a bonus if they either raise a kilogram of fish with less than 1.5 kilograms of feed or raise more fish with the same amount of feed,” he added.

For the latter model, farmers buy feed on deferred payment terms with a 1% interest rate. “The production cost has hit VND27,000 to VND28,000 per kilogram due to a surge in the feed price plus the interest rate,” he said.

With the current price of VND30,000 a kilogram, tra fish farmers would not earn much. If feed buyers pay in full upon purchase, they can save some VND2,000 for each kilogram bought.

However, polluted water and poor weather pose a health risk to the fish, killing up to 50% of them in some cases, he said.

Nguyen Van Hung, a tra fish farmer in Dong Thap, said fish prices rose sharply compared to 2021, but farmers did not make more profit.

According to Hung, tra fish sold for around VND23,000 to VND24,000 for a kilogram, and fish feed was some VND11,000 a kilogram.

A kilogram of tra fish required some VND17,000 worth of feed last year. If other costs were added, the production cost for a kilogram of tra fish would stand at some VND20,000.

“Farmers could earn a profit of VND3,000 or VND4,000 for every kilogram sold back then,” Hung said.

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