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Farmers reeling from low tra fish prices

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HCMC – Can Tho’s tra fish exports have faced tough times over the first few months of 2020, with prices reaching rock bottom and farmers suffering heavy losses, as many countries including Vietnam’s major tra fish buying markets have scaled down or suspended imports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a meeting with the Can Tho government on June 11, Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade, said that tra fish export activities have rebounded since early May.

However, while the price of material tra fish has been hitting rock bottom in Can Tho City, big-sized tra fish sells for VND17,000-VND18,000 per kilogram.

Due to the falling prices, many tra fish farmers in the city are still breeding fish but have not fed them to reduce costs. Moreover, the prices of fish breeds are also low at VND20,000 per kilogram, and as such, tra fish raisers are facing losses of VND3,000-4,000 per kilogram.

Several tra fish processors are planning to promote the sale of tra fish in the local market due to the plunging export prices, VietnamPlus news site reported.

Farmers have chosen to sell tra fish at low prices in the local market, as they will suffer further losses if the fish are left unsold. Toai noted that even though the United States has started to import Vietnamese tra fish again, export prices have remained low.

Given the hardships facing the tra fish sector, the leader of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade forecast that in the second half of 2020 and in early 2021, the local market will see lower material tra fish supplies as many farmers have not fed tra fish breeds, leading to mass fish deaths.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers expressed hope that if Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is effectively controlled globally in the third quarter of the year, Vietnam’s tra fish exports might rebound.

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