With buoyant profits forecast for raising breeder catfish coupled with substantial demand expected this year, a slew of breed stock farms have mushroomed in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region.
Off highway 91 that links Can Tho City and An Giang province, a plethora of farms raising and processing breeder “tra” catfish have sprouted up.
Local residents chat non-stop on the know-how of raising the breeder fish.
Specialist breeder Nguyen Van Vong in Tien Giang province told Thanh Nien that farmers could reap profits estimated 1.8 billion dong (US$112,500) per hectare raising the fish after five months.
Thus, people hoping to hit the jackpot have flocked to buy land with fish ponds freely available in the province, sending land prices skyward.
Another farmer in southern Can Tho said he had bought land to raise the breeder catfish, saying profits could quadruple from the invested capital.
A farmer in Can Tho’s Khuong islet has reportedly profited hundreds of millions of dong [ dong 100 million = US$6,250] from selling the breeder raised in a 1.5 hectare fish pond.
With growing demand for breeder “tra” catfish set to hit 10 billion this year, a supply crunch is looming as some of the Mekong provinces have limited catfish hatcheries.
Currently, hatcheries exist in An Giang and Dong Thap provinces only, particularly in Dong Thap’s Hong Ngu district.
Nguyen Duc Loi, a breeder supplier in Can Tho’s O Mon district said the supply shortage was inevitable, though about 5 million existing breeders are capable of handling bulk orders.
The supply shortfall has triggered worries that the quality of those breeders could decline in all of the rush to start up without experience.
A farmer warned that poor-quality breeders could inadvertently kill off some 60% of the breed stock.
The Can Tho Fisheries Bureau also admitted they face difficulties in checking the quality of household breeders.
But it promised to work with agencies concerned so that breeds of reliable quality would be provided to catfish farmers.
The bureau also said it would urge farmers to register their breed stocks to attempt to maintain control.