Shrimp farmers halt farming as prices plunge steeply

As a result of a substantial decline in exports and a surplus of inventory, the prices of raw shrimp in the Mekong Delta have experienced a sharp drop.
Farmers harvest white-leg shrimp in the Mekong Delta.

Farmers harvest white-leg shrimp in the Mekong Delta.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), shrimp exports in the first four months amounted to US$891 million, reflecting a 44-percent decrease compared to the corresponding period last year.

On May 15, traders announced the specific purchasing prices of white-leg shrimp in the provinces of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, and Kien Giang as follows: for the 30-piece shrimp, the price is VND123,000 per kilogram, compared to around VND173,000 per kilogram at the beginning of the year.

For the 50-piece shrimp, the price is VND99,000 per kilogram, compared to VND120,000 per kilogram at the beginning of the year; for the 70-piece shrimp, the price is VND91,000 per kilogram, compared to VND98,000 per kilogram at the beginning of the year.

However, the prices of tiger shrimp have remained relatively stable compared to the beginning of the year. Specifically, for chilled commercial tiger shrimp, the price for the 20-piece size is VND230,000 per kilogram, while the 30-piece size is priced at VND165,000 per kilogram.

According to seafood processing and exporting companies in the Mekong Delta, the purchasing power of many major markets has been affected by inflation. Consequently, orders from traditional markets like the US, the EU, and Japan have significantly dropped, resulting in high inventory levels. The prices of raw materials, particularly shrimp feed for aquaculture, have risen, leading to increased production costs for raw shrimp.

As a result, the competitiveness of Vietnamese shrimp has diminished when compared to shrimp products from other countries. Currently, the average export price of shrimp is approximately $10.8 per kilogram, reflecting a 3.4-percent decrease compared to the same period.

Mr. Nguyen Hoang An, Director of Cai Bat Cooperative in Hoa My Commune, Cai Nuoc District, Ca Mau Province, has revealed that shrimp farmers are facing significant challenges due to the current shrimp prices. They are experiencing a lack of profitability and a high risk of incurring losses.

"Currently, many shrimp farmers have decided to suspend their shrimp ponds. Super-intensive shrimp farming involves a considerable level of risk. Moreover, the prices of white-leg shrimp are currently low, exacerbating the high-risk nature of shrimp farming during this period," Mr. Nguyen Hoang An shared.

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