Costs, disease hurt shrimp breeders in Mekong Delta

Despite an increase in prices, shrimp breeders in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are facing difficulties due to higher input costs and an outbreak of disease among their crops.

The price of baby shrimp, feed and veterinary medicine as well as costs to improve breeding ponds have increased strongly over last year, pushing up production costs.

Each baby shrimp price, for instance, is VND10-15 higher than the previous year, while the feed price rose by thousands of dong a kilo.

In addition, shrimp raised in many delta provinces, including Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Kien Giang, have died in large numbers because of unseasonable rains earlier this month, creating heavy losses to farmers.

Farmers in Tra Vinh Province released about 812 million baby shrimp in more than 13,500ha of shrimp breeding farms, 85 million of which have died after one or two months of breeding. This caused a total loss of more than VND4.2 billion (US$200,668) for breeders.

The agricultural sector in the province has taken shrimp and water samples for testing and instructed farmers in environmental management and water treatment at their ponds.

The situation is also the same in Soc Trang Province, which leads the country in industrial shrimp farming, with nearly 2,000ha out of 16,000ha of shrimp ponds affected, mostly in Vinh Chau and My Xuyen Districts.

According to the provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Centre, shrimp breeding following extensive farming methods as well as intensive and semi-intensive farming breeding methods have all been affected.

Most dead shrimp were around one month old, the centre said.

Unseasonable rains and high temperature differences between day and night were among the reasons causing shrimp deaths, it said.

Quach Thi Thanh Binh, deputy director of Soc Trang Province Aquaculture Department, said initial testing showed that the sudden change in weather had caused shrimp to die.

Many shrimp in Bac Lieu Province have also died recently because rains have lowered the salinity at breeding ponds, said Luong Ngoc Lan, director of the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department.

The province has 100,993ha under shrimp farming, with 1,090ha affected by inclement weather.

The department has asked the provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Centre to offer instruction to farmers to overcome the situation, Lan said.

Authorities in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have asked farmers to wait for more favourable weather to start the new breeding crop; however, many breeders have rushed to begin new crops because of higher shrimp prices.

Source: Vietnam News

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