The volume fall and the price rise of tra fish export will create a “golden opportunity” for the industry to achieve steady growth, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep).
Duong Ngoc Minh, head of Vasep’s freshwater fish commission, told top 20 tra fish exporters at a meeting on Tuesday that October prices rose by 15 to 20 US cents per kilogram, marking the first price pickup this year.
“I think the uptrend will continue as stock is running low while demand remains high in export markets,” Minh said.
In the Mekong Delta, which is responsible for more than 90 percent of the country’s tra fish output, prices have inched up from 16,500 dong a few months ago to over 18,000 dong per kilogram. But such an increase has yet to benefit farmers given an almost corresponding fish feed price pickup.
According to Vasep, demand for the fish in the Middle East, Mexico and Australia has remained strong but export prices there in the last nine months have been declining. “This is due partly to harsh competition between exporters, which has dragged down export prices,” said Truong Dinh Hoe, secretary general of Vasep.
Many farmers in the Mekong Delta have scaled down or suspended tra farming because of rising costs.
Vasep said it would recommend measures to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to help the industry out of the troubled waters including shaky fish supply for processors.
Nguyen Van Kich, director of Cafatex Can Tho, a tra fish exporter, said exports had dipped as farmers in the last few months had abandoned their farms, leading to a shortage of fish for processing factories that require tens of tonnes of tra a day.
Hoe of Vasep forecast supply in 2011 could meet just half the annual demand of two million tonnes of factories in the Mekong Delta. This undersupply might cause export prices to surge.
“I think the shortage will send export prices up and this will help exporters avert anti-dumping cases and will benefit farmers as well,” he said.
Regarding the US anti-dumping duties on tra fish imports from Vietnam, exporters will have to complete the required documentation related to export turnover and data for submission to the US by October 26.
In its sixth anti-dumping duty preliminary administrative review on certain fish fillets from Vietnam last September, five Vietnamese exporters might be slapped prohibitive tariffs of over 100 percent.
In the first nine months of the year, Vietnam exported more than 472,000 tonnes of tra fish worth over $1 billion. According to Vasep, the total figure this year will reach $1.5 billion.