Vietnam has seen the ten-year lowest price of shrimp, leading the country’s target of US$10 billion in shrimp export by 2025 to the edge of failure.
Concern rises after white-leg shrimp prices in the country have plunged below the cost and sold for VND40,000-50,000 ($1.76-2.20) per kilogram.
Previously, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the shrimp industry to strive for an export value of $10 billion by 2025 during a conference on shrimp production held in the southernmost province of Ca Mau in early 2017.
The target is now shaking even when only one year has passed since it was set.
Vo Thanh Sang, a shrimp farmer in Soc Trang Province in the Mekong Delta, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he would cease raising the shellfish as he had made a loss of VND700 million ($30,800) selling his 14 ponds of shrimp at VND70,000 ($3.08) per kilogram.
“This is the lowest price in ten years’ time. Farmers will lose VND10,000 [$0.44] per kilogram,” Sang whined.
“How come I dare to cultivate shrimp again next season, as each pond will produce four to five tons of shrimp, meaning VND40-50 million [$1,760-2,000] in loss.”
According to Quach Hong Phong, vice-chairman of the My Thanh Shrimp Association in Soc Trang Province, at the current shrimp price, even the best farmers can only manage to break even.
Vo Van Phuc, managing director of Vina Clean Seafood, blamed an ample supply of shrimp on the global scale for shrimp price drops.
“Though the export price of shrimp products has fallen 20 percent, foreign buyers hesitate to purchase, thinking that the rate will get lower,” Phuc explained.
“If overseas purchasers continue mounting the price pressure, both producers and exporters will badly suffer as one party is discouraged to begin the next shrimp farming and the other will face a lack of input materials in the next few months,” Phuc anticipated.
Compared to other countries including India, Indonesia and Ecuador, the shrimp industry in Vietnam has seen a number of weaknesses in the breeding technology and production process, according to experts.
Vietnam’s shrimp prices and cost are therefore higher than other countries’, Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), assessed.
“What Vietnamese aquaculture businesses need to do is focus on high quality shrimp at high-end prices and increase production of value-added products that we have competitive edges,” Hoe concluded.
Over the past time, breeds, animal feed and materials for shrimp farming have climbed sharply in price, pushing the cost of shrimp cultivation in Vietnam up and causing challenges in competition.