[Translated from VASEP.com.vn, find the original article here]

At present, the price of pangasius (raw material) in Mekong Delta has cooled down compared to previous months, the price was at  approx. VND 25,000 – 26,500/kg, increased from 2,500 to 3,000 VND/kg year-on-year. It is forecasted that in the second half of 2017, the price of pangasius will be more stable due to the increasing volume of harvested fish and (increase) in fingerlings supply will fill the gap.

However, according to the report of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the first three months of this year, the price of raw material in Mekong Delta fluctuated erratically due to the shortage of fingerlings and farming area. In the first quarter of this year, the Mekong Delta catfish farming area totaled 2,705 hectares and total production reached 247.6 thousand tons. As such, the pangasius farming area decreased by 16% and output increased 1.5% over the same period last year. According to reports from many localities, farming area crashed sharply, including many key provinces such as Tien Giang, Ben Tre, An Giang, Can Tho, Dong Thap.
Tien Giang area is only 19.5% of the plan; Ben Tre reached 55.2%; Dong Thap reached 91.6%, An Giang reached 85.3%.
The first reason is that the fingerlings source is insufficient. In the last months of 2016, the price of fingerlings fell sharply, many hatchery farms stopped production to wait for the price rally. Moreover, nurseries of the Mekong Delta provinces earlier this year are disadvantageous due to unseasonal rain. Therefore, the fingerlings supply for the new crop in 2017 is shorter and later than every year. In February 2017, the price of fingerlings was 25 cents/kg (2-cm sized fingerling) was more than 40,000 VND / kg, three-fold higher than before.
In addition, in 2016, due to market fluctuation, raw material price in Mekong Delta has experienced a year of erratic ups and downs. Fish prices increased slightly in QI / 2016 but fell sharply in QII and QIII / 2016. In particular, in August-September 2016, decreasing export market, declining consumption, and price of raw pangasius falling even lower  than the farming cost were the difficulties that catfish farmers had faced. The price of white meat pangasius (0.7-0.8 kg /unit) ranged from 18,000 to 19,200 VND/kg, lower than the same period in 2015 by 800-1,000 VND/kg and lower than the first months of 2016 by 5,000-1,000 VND/kg. This was the lowest record in 5 years. Because of this abnormal increase or decrease, farmers has farmed discontinuously or stopped farming altogether. In addition, the Chinese buyers increased the purchase of fish sizing from 750 to 800 gr, resulting in shortage in QI / 2017.
Until now, the price of pangasius has stabilized at 25,000 – 26,500 VND/kg, decreased from 1,000 to 1,500 VND/kg compared with the peak in early and mid-April 2017, however, pangasius raw material for the factory is still insufficient due to lack of harvested yield.

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