Shrimp farmers hope for clean start

Farmers in the coastal province of Bac Lieu, the second hardest-hit locality after Soc Trang Province, decided to resume production in some areas after their ponds were carefully sterilised. Cultivation at other southern provinces also resumed.

An official from Bac Lieu Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said the recent unprecedented death of many shrimp had occurred only with industrial farming. Household farms have not been seriously affected.

According to the department, as of July 7, about 1,495 of 6,072 ha of shrimp farms in the province, which had been severely affected by the epidemic, had resumed production. The province estimates that the total number of farms affected by the disease cover 16,720 ha.

Farmers in Soc Trang Province have also begun producing and selling breeding shrimp after careful sanitation tasks.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, more than 19,000 out of nearly 26,000 ha of shrimp farms have resumed production, accounting for 76 per cent of shrimp farm in the province.

Shrimp prices remain high and nearby processing factories are facing a severe shortage of raw materials.

Since early this year, about 10 processing factories in Bac Lieu have collected only 647 tonnes of shrimp for production.

Ca Mau’s 36 shrimp processing factories had been operating about 50 per cent of their capacity due to a serious raw material shortfall.

Industry insiders predict the shortage will remain for several months.

Shrimp farmers are employing more sanitary measures, experts said.

Foreign experts said they had not identified the cause of the massive number of dead shrimp in the delta.

However, Luong Ngoc Lan, head of Bac Lieu Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that international experts concluded that contaminated farms had caused the deaths.

Farmers have not followed strict sanitation procedures and regulations because they wanted to quickly earn profits at a time when shrimp prices are high.

Unsanitary methods had left bacteria in ponds and had harmed developing shrimp, Lan said.

Many farmers, even those who experienced consecutive losses of batches of shrimp, continued to improperly use sanitary methods.

Farmers who performed proper sanitation earned big profits and their shrimp was not affected by the disease outbreak, he added.

Lan said his department had sent experts to epidemic hardest-hit areas to inform farmers the reason of the massive fatality and sanitation procedures before releasing breeding shrimps.

By early May, shrimp farmers in seven coastal provinces of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta had suffered unprecedented losses of tiger shrimp and white-leg shrimp on 52,000ha of farm area.

The losses on shrimp farms also occurred in the provinces in the northern and central regions, including Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Ninh Thuan and HCM City.

The ministry estimates total losses in the 17 areas at over 53,000 ha. Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta suffered the worst losses.

Lan said farmers need cash allocation to quickly resume operating their farms.

Source: Vietfish

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