Competition, rising cost leave fish farmers in dire straits
Cambodian fish farmers have been hit hard by the rising cost of raw materials and increasing fuel prices, amid tightening competition from imported Vietnam fish, Lea Phovarith, support and development officer at Cambodia Aquaculture Association (CAA) told Khmer Times.
Cambodian fish farmers are selling fish at about $1,061 per tonne for the last few months this year, seven percent or $73.35 higher than the price in 2021, he said.
But the same fish imported from Vietnam is sold at $987.65 per tonne this year, which is $73.35 lower than the price of the local fish, said Phovarith.
“Actually, prices are rising, but the fish imported from Vietnam are still sold at a lower price compared to the local fish. That’s why it is still very difficult for us to compete with them even though our price has gone up a little. The rise in the fuel cost is much higher and it has made the cost of fish feed to go up,” he said.
“The cost of fish feed alone has increased by 20-30 percent to about $17.3 per 25kg-bag during the February-May period this year from $12.34 per bag in the same period last year and to raise a tonne of fish we require about two tonnes of fish feed and along with fuel, energy and other costs, the production cost is higher than that of Vietnam,” Phovarith said.
The cost of rice bran, a fish feed, has nearly doubled to 1,200 riel per kg in May this year from about 700 riels per kg in the same period last year, he said.
The CAA has as members about 600 households that raise fish. The official said that the cost of feed contributes about 80 percent of the total cost of fish farming in Cambodia.
“Many households who are our members have stopped farming fish and moved to other businesses, while some have just suspended operations and are waiting to see a better situation in the market. All these factors make us less and less competitive in the market compared to Vietnam fish farmers,” he said, adding that 60 percent of the association’s members have either stopped or suspended fish farming.
Sok Raden, president of CAA, said the China market which used to import 60 percent of Cambodia’s catfish or Pra fish is still uncertain. “We have not received any information from China. We do not know how much they need. In fact, we need to know clearly how much they need and have to set a schedule for the production, quality, quantity and price of fish,” he said.
However, Ing Try, deputy director-general of the fisheries administration, told Khmer Times that China had agreed to import Pra fish from Cambodia this year but not indicated the quantity. Moreover, technical inspections at fish farms need to be conducted before reaching any agreement with processing factories, Try pointed out.
Source from: Kang Sothear. (June 7, 2022). Competition, rising cost leave fish farmers in dire straits.Khmer Times. https://www.khmertimeskh.com/501089250/competition-rising-cost-leave-fish-farmers-in-dire-straits/