Mekong Delta farmers face difficulties due to rising agricultural supply prices

Recently, the prices of animal feed and fertilizers have increased continuously, causing many farmers in the Mekong Delta to sit on pins and needles.
Mekong Delta farmers face difficulties due to rising agricultural supply prices ảnh 1 Increasing animal feed prices create more burden on Tra fish farmers in An Giang Province. (Photo: SGGP)

The prices of animal feed climbed sharply

Mr. Nguyen Thanh Binh, Director of Chau Thanh Fisheries Production and Service Cooperative in Dong Thap Province, said that from the end of 2020 to now, the price of fish feed has escalated sharply. On the contrary, the price of fish increased slightly. In addition, the time for raising animals is slow and long, making production costs increase, farmers continue to suffer losses from VND2,000-VND2,500 per kilogram.

Sharing the same concern, Mr. Nguyen Van Tan, a long-time pangasius farmer in Vinh Thanh Trung Commune in Chau Phu District of An Giang Province, said that at present, most feed for pangasius fish in the Mekong Delta sold by factories and dealers is around VND11,300-VND11,500 per kilogram, an extremely high price for fish farmers. With the current situation, the costs for raising pangasius fish have jumped to VND24,000 per kilogram, while the highest price of commercial fish offered by enterprises is only VND22,000 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, many fish-farming and poultry-farming households have also sat on pins and needles because the prices of animal feed climbed heavily. Mr. Duong Quoc Hung, the owner of a cattle and poultry feed agent in My An Commune in Mang Thit District of Vinh Long Province, expressed that increasing animal feed prices do not only cause difficulties for farmers but also feed agents because the amount of animal feed sold on credit to farmers has not been able to recover. Under current conditions, for a pig to reach 100 kilograms, it costs VND4 million for feed, not to mention the cost for piglets of VND2.5 million, along with the cost for barns and veterinary medicines, so farmers do not have profits.

Animal feed processing factories explained that the prices of animal feed hiked because the prices of input materials, such as wheat flour, soybean oilcake, and cereals, surged sharply. Moreover, the freight rates of shipping lines were also higher, causing the input costs of the animal feed production process to climb.

Adjusting production to adapt the situation

Recently, the prices of fertilizers in the Mekong Delta also highly increased, triggered by the impact of an increase in global fertilizer prices, transportation costs, and imported raw materials. Besides, the Covid-19 pandemic has made the import of some types of fertilizers difficult, thereby pushing the prices up. Currently, Chinese Diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer is sold by agricultural supply stores in the Mekong Delta at VND840,000-VND850,000 per bag of 50 kilograms, an increase of about VND240,000-VND250,000 per bag compared to the end of last year. The prices of domestically-produced urea fertilizers, such as Phu My and Ca Mau, and many types of fertilizers imported from China and Malaysia are currently from VND450,000 to VND510,000 per bag, up by VND100,000-VND150,000 per bag.

To cope with the situation of increasing fertilizer prices, Ms. Pham Thi Minh Hieu, Director of the Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection of Can Tho City, recommended that farmers need to balance nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus when fertilizing, pay attention to adjust the amount of nitrogenous fertilizer to suit each growing area, avoiding letting rice plants grow too well and too green, which will easily generate pests and diseases. It will cost a lot of money for both fertilizers and also plant protection drugs. Especially, it is necessary to promote advanced production processes and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides. These are effective solutions amid the situation of rising agricultural supply prices. Moreover, provinces should strengthen support for farmers to join cooperatives, cooperative groups, and large-scale field models to connect with reputable fertilizer manufacturing enterprises and agricultural supply suppliers to buy fertilizers at original prices, avoiding intermediate consumption.

For pangasius fish, according to Mr. Le Chi Binh, Vice Chairman of the Aquaculture and Seafood Processing Association of An Giang Province, with the current unfavorable situation, the aquaculture sector does not recommend farmers to expand their farming areas and output, but it is necessary to focus on adopting advanced technologies in aquaculture to minimize production costs, reduce loss ratio, improve fish quality, and ensure clean sources of raw materials to supply fastidious export markets at a high price. At the same time, it is recommended that farmers only raise fish when there are contracts with exporters and animal feed processing factories to stabilize their output and get support for animal feed at wholesale prices and with high quality. Farmers should not raise animals spontaneously, and on a small scale, because they will possibly face risks.